Police Chief David Brown was commended for his work with Black Lives Matter protestors this month, and the country mourned with him after five officers were killed by military vet Micah Xavier Johnson. Chief Brown had some words for protestors about what else he thought they could do for their city, and it seems like they might have listened.
The Dallas police force has been struggling for some time with budgetary constraints and an overextension of their purview. The Washington Post reports Brown saying during a press conference on July 11:
“We’re asking cops to do too much in this country... We are. Every societal failure, we put it off on the cops to solve. Not enough mental health funding, let the cops handle it. … Here in Dallas we got a loose dog problem; let’s have the cops chase loose dogs. Schools fail, let’s give it to the cops. … That’s too much to ask. Policing was never meant to solve all those problems.”
When asked about police brutality and whether or not he agreed on some level with the issues protestors were organizing around, Brown said, “I probably wouldn’t protest or complain. I’d get involved and do something about it, by becoming part of the solution,” and “We’re hiring. Get off that protest line and put an application in.”
On average, the Dallas police department receives about 11 applications a day. They are now receiving around 40 per day. The quality of the applicants can’t be assured, but the department recently started canceling training classes for a lack of new recruits. If some of these new applications are acceptable, it still doesn’t mean anyone is hirable or will stay. The department has a huge turnover rate, since yearly starting pay for officers in other Texas cities can be as much as eight thousand dollars higher.
The Dallas Morning News reports that at least 240 officers left the Dallas police department in the 2015 fiscal year. The department has the budget to hire 200 more people, but that only just about fills the missing spots. Complaints about the department have included poor management and not enough officers in the streets.
The new applications may be coming from protestors inspired by Chief Brown’s challenge, they may be coming from people feeling grief and frustration after those officers were murdered (or both). Whoever the new recruits are, they’ve got their work cut out for them.