Nearly 100 Dallas Officers Quit, ‘Most Experienced Officers’

Dallas Officers are leaving the Department at a record pace.

Dallas Officers are leaving the Department at a record pace.

Nearly 100 Dallas Officers Quit, ‘Most Experienced Officers’

Dallas, TX – Nearly 100 Dallas officers have quit since October 2016 leaving the department severely understaffed, and recruiters working at an exhaustive pace.

On Monday Interim Police Chief David Pughes informed City Council members that the department needs to fill the next police academy class with with 60 officers, but to date they have only hired 30 for the February class. Since last year the department has had what has been described by many as being a “mass exodus” of Dallas officers leaving for a wide range of reasons.

According to several news sources, the department’s personnel level shrunk to 3,252, which is a level far below the department’s benchmark around 3,500 officers. The department’s goal is to hire 449 new officers this year in order to make up for attrition, but that goal appears to be an uphill battle unless city council acts swiftly. The city previously discussed adding an additional 200 officers above the 3,500, but in light of the dire staffing circumstances, that idea was scraped.

In an exclusive interview with CBS 11, the Dallas Police Association president, Mike Mata, was quoted as saying, “I think most of those 99 were tenured officers, so those are our most experienced officers, the majority investigative detectives who solve crimes everyday.” A loss of experiences officers on such a large scale can have devastating impact on the community, and the officers who remain with few veterans to rely on for guidance.

Many are placing blame of this mass exodus of experienced officers on the Dallas Police Department itself. Grumblings from Dallas officers citing low pay, problems with police pension fund, and rising crime are some of the most common complaints. The spike in crime comes in the wake of the ambush sniper murder of five officers who were working to secure the rights of protesters at a Black Lives Matter rally in July 2016.  These are some of the more common complaints from the Dallas officers. Dallas officers make almost $8,000 less a year than Fort Worth police which have a starting salary of $52,176. Dallas officers’ starting pay is $44.658.

On Wednesday, (tomorrow) the Dallas City Council, after months of negotiations, have finally agreed to hold a vote on a new contract for Dallas officers, fire and paramedics. The terms of that contract reflect that Dallas officers will receive merit increases of 10% the first year, 5% second year, and 10% third year.

Dallas Police Association President Mike Mata said, “Those individuals who possibly were thinking of leaving, yes, I think this prevents them from leaving. It helps them stay,” said Mata. “So it was definitely a move in the right direction.”

After hearing about the low salary for Dallas police officers, do you feel police officers are generally underpaid considering the risks they face on a daily basis? Let us know in the comments below, or on our Facebook page.

Follow Chief on Facebook and Twitter @texashabanero