Dallas Police holding presser on officer death

With Hawk Out, Who Will Take Over as Dallas County DA?

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DALLAS -- There's a big question mark hanging over Dallas County's Frank Crowley Courthouse.  Who will replace Susan Hawk as District Attorney?

Don't feel bad if the names that have been floated - names like Messina Madson, Bill Wirskye, or Jennifer Balido - don't ring a bell.  No potential successor has been in the news quite as much as the controversial exiting DA.

But Madson's the one who's been managing day-to-day operations at the courthouse during Hawk's extended mental health absences, and Judges Wirskye and Balido both have experience working for the county.  There's no shortage of qualified applicants to fill the vacancy.

But is it worth it for us normal folks to even bother getting to know the candidates?  It's not like we have any say over who gets picked.

Because Judge Hawk resigned after August 26, Governor Abbott will appoint someone to serve the rest of her term, instead of sending it to a vote.

The timing will conveniently allow the Republican party to keep one of their own in the office, and it might have been a political strategy, according to attorney Kelly Puls.

"I think it was strategy," Puls told reporters Tuesday. "I think that she's known for a long time that she can't fulfill this role.  She should have realized, 'Hey, I need to let the citizens of Dallas County vote for somebody to do that."

Puls said Hawk did the right thing for her health but thinks she should have stepped down last year.  That's when he filed a lawsuit on behalf of a former County employee, to remove Hawk from office.

"We gave her an opportunity to resign last October 2015," said Puls. "She should have done that."

But he didn't seem worried about the future.

"I think that Governor Abbott will appoint a very capable successor," the attorney said. "I think it'll be a quick process.  I would say less than a month."

Yeah, and with the Dallas Police Department looking for a new top cop as well, seems we'll soon have two new faces of law enforcement in the Big D.