Dallas City Hall has a new budget problem as the result of better than expected hiring and retention at the Dallas Police Department.
A memo to city council members said police were expected to be $5,476,000 over budget because the force was 77 officers larger than projected.
The memo came after pay raises approved last year to keep and attract Dallas officers.
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“That is a good thing that we are on our way back,” Dallas Police Association President Mike Mata said. “They need to do what they promised the public they would do, and that is, if the department hired, they would pay them.”
Dallas City Council member Jennifer Gates, who leads the council’s finance committee, said that was exactly what would happen.
“We will find the money,” Gates said. “This council is behind making sure DPD has all the resources needed to be able to fight crime.”
One strong option for the police money is an extra $6,714,000 in sale tax revenue the city said it expected to receive.
The number of Dallas police officers on Tuesday stood at 3,126. That is better than the 3,014 there were in 2018, but hundreds fewer than the peak number of 3,690 in 2011.
Gates said residents were still concerned about rising violent crime and property crime that might go unreported because police response would be slow.
“We need people to report all the crime in their neighborhoods. That’s how we deploy resources,” Gates said.
A new online reporting tool is available at the Dallas police website.
“We’ve had to change the way business is done with having fewer officers,” Gates said.
Mata said there was also a smaller staff of detectives to follow up on reports.
“The majority of the people that do retire from the department are tenured officers and are usually investigators,” Mata said.
Dallas Chief Finance Officer Elizabeth Reich responded to a request for comment to city management with an emailed statement:
“We are examining all of our options to ensure DPD can continue to recruit and hire the best officers for the City. We anticipate the City Manager will make a recommendation to the City Council this spring.”
Mayor Eric Johnson issued the following statement:
“This is a great problem to have, and it shows that our decision to increase compensation for officers is paying off. I am hopeful that the growing numbers of officers, combined with the plan to reduce violent crime, can help make our neighborhoods safer.”