Dallas Police Chief: ‘We Really Need to Be Concerned' About Shrinking Police Force

City officials and the public "really need to be concerned," about the shrinking police force, interim Dallas Police Chief David Pughes said Monday.Pughes told the City Council's public safety committee that the department is down to a nearly critical level of 3,077 officers. That's the smallest force the city has had in about 10 years. Another 100 would-be officers are currently training in the police academy.The chief said he's concerned that the department, which peaked at nearly 3,700 officers about six years ago, will be short-handed while entering the summer months, when crime generally increases.Consternation about the failing Dallas Police and Fire Pension System have driven the officers to quit and retire much faster than the department can hire and train new ones. So far this year, police have hired just 80 officers and expect to hire 200 -- far from their target of around 450. And the department has lost 244 officers this year, much of which have more than 20 years of experience. Police officials believe another 120 will leave by the end of September.Deputy Chief Scott Walton said the projections remain "a huge wild card" until a bill to save the pension from insolvency is signed into law by the governor. The bill is awaiting a House vote and has met political opposition from Mayor Mike Rawlings, who has called on voters to push lawmakers to change the legislation.  Continue reading...

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