DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Attracting the best police officers comes at a price. The Dallas Police Department’s chief stated that it is hard to find — and keep — new recruits with the current pay scale. But there is a big change coming for officers, with a goal of building a larger and better paid police force in Dallas.
“This is something that we need to do,” city councilman Adam McGough told his peers. “The time is right. We need to give our officers raises.”
Thanks to a vote of solidarity at Dallas City Hall, both police officers and firefighters in Dallas could soon receive raises. A new $3.1 billion spending plan includes money to increase pay for all police and fire employees. The budget sets aside the cash, but individual labor agreements will determine the amount.
So, the official amounts of the raises will not be known until that is worked out. The new plan seems to address concerns with a previous proposal that did not include hikes for officers at the higher end of the pay scale.
“We are making a choice here,” said city councilman Lee Kleinman, “to take all of the tax increase that we are passing onto our citizens and putting it to public safety.”
This plan is meant to help strengthen the police force at a time when it is being scrutinized the most. In fact, two Dallas events on Thursday and Friday are being held to protest the recent killings of black men by police officers across the country. Stories coming out of Charlotte and Tulsa have again sparked a public outcry.
The Black Police Association of Greater Dallas is even speaking out, saying that there is a tremendous amount of work needed to bridge the gap between law enforcement and the black community. “We’re at a pivotal moment in history,” the groups said in a statement, “where we must take the opportunity to change policing forever.”
According to the group, if this epidemic of unarmed black men being shot by police officers is not checked, it will “soon rise to levels exceeded only by lynchings and slavery.” The association has scheduled a community press conference on Friday to talk about this issue. They will be joined by members of local religious groups, the Dallas NAACP and the Next Generation Action Network.
But first, the Next Generation Action Network is planning their own press conference to address the issue at the Dallas Police Department’s headquarters at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, ahead of a protest planned for 6:30 p.m. at Main Street Garden Park in downtown Dallas.