DALLAS (CBS11) – Jill Muncy retired from the Dallas Police Department in 2001 after 25 years — the last ten as a deputy chief.
Now, she and more than 30 other former Dallas Police chiefs, some of whom went to work at other departments, have signed a letter, urging every state lawmaker to approve a bill that will save the Police and Fire Pension Fund from going broke within ten years.
Muncy says they can no longer rely on city leaders. “They’ve turned their back on us. There’s no other way to put it, and that’s why all of us wrote that letter,” she said.
During a hearing before the House Pension Committee Monday, Mayor Mike Rawlings announced he opposes the current bill to fix the fund saying it will cost city taxpayers too much money.
Muncy says the mayor and council members who agree with him pose a greater threat to their pension. “I’m not saying they want to take it away. I’m saying they want to steal it. They want to steal it because it’s our property.”
But council member Lee Kleinman has said the pension police officers and firefighters receive is anything but mediocre.
Councilman Kleinman says the city increased pay for police officers and firefighters by $93 million.
That’s besides the additional $22 million the city may have to contribute to the pension fund each year.
He and Mayor Rawlings have warned the city will have to cut city services in its next budget to pay for the pension fund increases.
Muncy and the other chiefs warn that other troubles lie ahead:
Violent crime is up about five percent so far in 2017 and police response times have increased slightly, too.
There are about 130 fewer officers now compared to last year.
Sgt. Mike Mata, President of the Dallas Police Association says the letter sends a powerful message. “You have almost 900 years of police experience. They know how to fight crime. They know what they’re talking about. They are the experts in the field.”
He worries officers will continue leaving for other police departments, including San Antonio, which is now bragging about its strong pension on billboards in Dallas. “How do you guarantee that you’re getting a great cop? This is how you do it. Putting up a billboard for already trained officers.”
told city council members last week he doesn’t believe there is a public safety crisis.
DPD now has just under 3,200 officers and Pughes said the city doesn’t need to lose anymore.
The House Pension Committee will meet again Monday afternoon and may approve a bill and send it to the full House for a vote.
Until then, both Mayor Rawlings and the Police and Fire Pension Board have submitted requests to change the bill.