At a time Dallas and many cities are struggling to hire enough police officers, the Fort Worth Police Department is overstaffed – and more officers about to graduate from the academy.
The department’s budget calls for 1,664 officers but now employs 1,670.
Two classes of recruits are set to graduate from the academy in December and in April, adding more than 80 additional officers to the street.
By comparison, Dallas is 564 officers understaffed.
"The most positive thing about this is we can provide effective service to the citizens,” said Fort Worth officer Jimmy Pollozani. “And that's the most important thing. We definitely don't want to see calls holding for a period of time."
Fewer than expected officers have retired or resigned, contributing to the overstaffing.
And so many officers are in the pipeline that for the first time in memory, the department plans no new academy for all of next year.
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"I think the biggest draw is the city of Fort Worth is a wonderful place to work,” said Officer Tracy Savage, who transferred to Fort Worth from Irving. “We have citizens that back us on everything we do."
Savage has served in law enforcement nearly 20 years.
"This is the first time I've seen an overage,” he said. “It's unheard of but I think it speaks to the city of Fort Worth, the Fort Worth Police Department, that that many people want to be here."
The department has had its share of controversies, including months of fallout from that viral video of Jacqueline Craig's arrest last December.
But insiders say all that is old news now, and that morale and staffing levels are solid.
"In Fort Worth we are lucky to have standards where we're at in personnel,” Pollozani said.
Meanwhile, Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald plans to create a new rank and add six commanders, which would be between the rank of captain and deputy chief.