The Dallas Police Department will likely fall short of recruitment goals for this year, Dallas City data shows.
DPD hopes to hire 250 new officers by September 30th but so far has hired only 39.
“When you get to the point that you are constantly trying to do more with less, eventually you are getting less with less,” said Dallas Police Association President Mike Mata.
NBC 5 reached out to the Dallas Police Department for comment but did not receive an answer at the time of this stories air.
In recent months officers have been moved from other departments to patrol to make up for staffing shortfalls, said Mata.
Citywide, police response times have risen across the board, with the average time for “priority 4” calls rising by 20-minutes in 2017. Current recruitment efforts are also set against the back drop of lingering questions concerning the pension fund and entry level salaries that are increasingly topped by neighboring cities.
“How do you convince that young officer that has the ability to leave or that officer that has a wife or kids, how do you get them to come to a city that is going to pay them less,” said Mata.
In Plano, the starting salary for a college educated officer is $67,000, compared to Dallas’ $52,000. The rate of internal climb is also comparatively rapid, with an officer making $87,000 in just 5-years in Plano.
“We have 395 officers and we have one opening coming January 31st, he’s retiring after 29 years,” said John Bauer with the Plano Police Department.
Bauer, who works in crime prevention and is one of Plano’s recruiters, says he expects over 300-applicants for the job.
But back in Dallas, applications remain behind the cities desired pace. Mata says the strain the staff shortage has caused is also hurting the morale of current officers.
“It’s a huge morale problem, because we want to sell this department,” said Mata.