Dallas Police Not Prepared for Number of Retiring Officers

The number of officers retiring from the Dallas Police Department continued this week to far outpace the projections made by the department over the summer.

This week alone, 10 veteran Dallas officers retired. They'll be able to start drawing from their pension at the start of the new fiscal year in October.

Through the first two weeks of September, there have been 21 Dallas police officers who retired.

Multiple sources told NBC 5 that commanders are bracing for many more retirements over the next two weeks as well.

The Dallas Police Department did not foresee the volume of retirements this month.

In early August, Deputy Chiefs told city council members in a presentation that they projected 14 retirements between Aug. 9 and Oct. 1.

The number is significantly higher than that.

Police sources told NBC 5 there are new promotions and transfers being worked out at headquarters to deal with these retirements, though those promotions haven’t been formally announced yet.

There are major concerns about Dallas police paychecks and pensions. Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings told NBC 5 Friday he’s worried about officers retiring or leaving for other departments.

"We need to pay our police officers. We were underpaid, vis-a-vis, other cities in the Metroplex. We can't have that. We can't lose those officers. So the plan the city manager put in place. In the short term was the right thing to do. It kept taxes down," he said.

In an e-mail to police officers on Friday, Sam Friar, the head of the Pension Board wrote:

The pension system board of trustees is currently confronted with a number of thorny issues. Among them are severe under-funding, very anxious and worried members, and increasing DROP withdrawals ... retiring now versus later should not have any bearing on how benefit changes will ultimately affect you such as changes to the annual adjustment.

DROP refers to a pension-deferment plan that hundreds of Dallas police officers are enrolled in. DROP is a program to earn interest on a deferred monthly pension check, so long as police officers keep wearing the badge even after they've reached retirement eligibility at 20 years of service.

The retirement board doesn’t meet again for another three weeks, until Oct. 13. The Board said it is still evaluating several options.

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