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Police Chief Mac Tristan Retires From Coppell PD

It was a bittersweet day when Coppell bid farewell to Chief Macario “Mac” Tristan. Friends, family, fellow emergency personnel, and citizens gathered at the Coppell Town Center Friday, Nov. 30, for Chief Tristan’s retirement ceremony.

“This is not a goodbye, it is a thank you,” Deputy Chief Danny Barton at the ceremony.

After becoming Chief in 2011, Tristan worked to change the police culture by focusing on problem-oriented policing and servant leadership. Tristan reinforced innovative perspectives, implemented new hiring and training practices, and strengthened the connection between officers and the community, all of which created improvements in the Coppell Police Department.

“When you came, we had a good police department. You have turned the reins over to a great police department,” Mayor Karen Hunt said.

The journey to improve the police department was not always easy, according to many individuals who spoke during the ceremony.

“We worked really hard to change the culture,” Tristan said. “People left the organization that didn’t want to be a part of it, which needed to happen. I said, ‘If you’re not happy here, go where you’re going to be happy.’”

With officers leaving and positions open, Tristan stated they hired for fit, not just to fill.

“In our recruiting, we don’t talk about pay, and when you get to shoot guns and catch bad guys, we talk about service,” Tristan said. “We talked about making an impact in your community; we talk about being a part of this nobility of policing. We talk about something higher, something bigger than themselves.”

One of the key subjects Tristan focused on was servant leadership. In today’s police field, the theory of servant leadership has been embraced by many executive officers. Deputy Chief Barton explained, it is a reminder you are doing something bigger than yourself, and it takes the focus off you and places it on others around you.

“It’s been exhausting to change police culture. You don’t see it very often,” Barton said.

Barton cherishes the times he and Tristan traveled the nation and to countries like China and Sweden to speak at servant leadership conferences and share their personal perspectives.

Some Tristan family members traveled from California flew to be a part of the celebration. Tristan’s children, Andrea and Gabriel Tristan, also attended the celebration.

“It’s awesome to see that leadership style he has carried over into everything he does,” Gabriel Tristan said. “He is a man of action and example as opposed to just telling us what to do and controlling our lives.”

“It’s exciting, but it’s overwhelming and it’s a little bit sad to kind of close this chapter and see what comes next,” Andrea Tristan said.

Sworn in as Coppell’s Chief of Police in January 2011, Tristan joined Coppell after serving more than 29 years with the City of Carrollton Police Department. He plans to continue teaching and talking about servant leadership.

“It’s about influencing people in organizations at every level,” Tristan said. “If people invite me, I will help anyone, and I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to do that all over this country and even abroad, so hopefully that continues.”

Tristan’s deputy Danny Barton will serve as Chief for the Coppell Police Department.

“He has been a massive impact on our department and the city, and he is going to be missed,” Barton.