Dallas Police Chief Pushes for Higher Pay for Officers

Dallas Police Chief David Brown launched a crusade for higher Dallas police pay Monday at Dallas City Hall.

Speaking to the city council for the first time since reports of two councilmembers pushing for Brown’s replacement, Brown told the Dallas City Council Public Safety Committee that he has been talking with officers about low morale and rising violent crime.

Brown said overall crime is down for an eleventh straight year, although violent crime is up 7.17-percent so far this year compared with last.

He said new training to reduce the use of deadly force has reduced excessive force complaints by 81-percent and officer injuries by 50-percent this year. 

“These outcomes require trade-offs,” Brown said.

Response time to low priority calls now averages 24.52 minutes compared with a goal of 12 minutes.

Brown said Dallas now has less money to boost manpower with overtime and the number of officers to handle all police responsibilities has declined to 3,524 compared with 3,690 in 2010.

“We are not competitive in our starting pay and I have been silent on this issue and I promised them that I would not continue to be silent,” Brown told councilmembers. “They deserve to be competitive to area in their starting pay. They deserve it. They’ve earned it. These stats are true.”

Friday, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings wrote a letter (see below) to councilmembers warning them to stay out of personnel decisions after members Adam Medrano and Scott Griggs reportedly met with City Manager A.C. Gonzalez about removing Brown. Medrano chairs the Public Safety Committee, but he was absent for Monday’s meeting.

Members who did attend the meeting were generally supportive of Chief Brown.

“We want to help you improve morale,” said Councilman Adam McGough. “We want to help improve response time. We’re relying on you to tell us what you need to get done and we want to come along and help that. We are absolutely all in this together, so let’s figure out how we can move forward with this.”

Ron Pinkston, President of the Dallas Police Association, the city’s largest police union, said Brown was just making excuses Monday.

“We have to lower crime. We have to make our response time drop. And we’re going to need that with a different management style,” Pinkston said.

Dallas Black Police Association President Cletus Judge, a homicide sergeant, said low pay is the main problem, not Chief Brown.

“We were having accidents, killing citizens, killing suspects, and that’s something that needed to done away with. I support Chief Brown. I support his management style,” Judge said. “If these officers were compensated more, if our way that we are paid was increased, I guarantee morale would go up 100 percent.”

A group of Brown supporters rallied Monday outside police headquarters, including two councilmembers.

“Over the past several years, crime has continued to decrease and so those policies that have been implemented have worked,” said Councilman Casey Thomas.

Councilmember Carolyn King Arnold said her constituents support Brown, but they expect him to continue to work effectively with police officers and the community.

“At the end of the day, we want the officers to be able to go home to their families, we want the citizens to go home to their families and we want to live in a safe city,” Arnold said.

Chief Brown said it is also a good time for prayer.

"I’m asking for other people of faith in this city to pray for this department, as well,” Brown said.

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09 25 15 Memo to Council Members Personnel Matters (Rawlings) (Text)
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