It's no secret that the city of Dallas has had trouble keeping its officers on the force. Since last October, some 266 officers have left the Dallas Police Department, and there are concerns the number could rise even higher.
The Dallas Police Association projects that staffing levels could soon sink to the lowest number of officers patrolling Dallas streets in decades.
"It's not going to be a happy story, whichever way," said Sgt. Michael Mata, president of the Dallas Police Association.
Mata expressed grave concerns about the future of the force and protection of Dallas residents.
He predicts a dramatic decrease of senior and seasoned officers remaining on the force, who are worried about their DROP program investments regardless of a decision on the pension battle raging in Austin.
"If the pension passes, you have those individuals who have been in DROP for an extended amount of years – past seven years – they can no longer get the benefit of DROP, and they also have to double their contributions," Mata said.
He says it's a no-win situation and believes up to 250 officers will hand in their retirement papers by the end of the summer.
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Mata also says dozens of younger officers will be rethinking their future with the department. As it stands, there are just fewer than 3,200 sworn officers, including those currently in the academy. If the projections match up, Mata says Mayor Mike Rawlings needs to take immediate action.
"We will fall to 2,700 officers by the end of the summer, and it will be near impossible for this department to give adequate and above par service to the citizens," Mata said.
Dallas City Councilman Philip Kingston told NBC 5 that he agrees with Mata.
"I am worried about the health of the department because of the personnel shortage and currently in communication with DPD command staff to consider the option of rehiring retired police officers to help with less intense police jobs," Kingston said.