Dallas City Council Votes to Relax Police Hiring Standards to Bring On More Officers

Critics oppose relaxing police hiring standards

The Dallas City Council approved a plan Wednesday to relax Dallas police hiring standards to expand the pool of possible officer applicants.

The change will eliminate the requirement of 45 hours of college credit, 36 months of active duty military experience or 36 months of law enforcement employment with another agency.

Instead, the City of Dallas will accept fresh recruits who have only been certified as Texas Peace Officers through some other agency.

Officers transferring in would still undergo training at the Dallas Police Academy on DPD policy, but the change could eliminate up to 23 weeks of training time required now to get new officers on the street.

Chief U. Renee Hall told a Dallas City Council committee in December that officers hired from other cities would still be thoroughly vetted. The committee endorsed the change, sending it forward to Wednesday's vote of the full City Council, which was approved.

The department's response time to lower-priority calls is far slower than a few years ago when the force had around 700 more officers. The latest count in January was 3,014, but many of those are cadets who are still in the police academy.

Dallas increased starting police pay to $60,000 this year and gave officers already on the force a 3 percent raise to help discourage them from leaving. Dallas police officer salaries that were at the bottom of the heap before are now above some North Texas cities, but still below others.

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