Follow CBSDFW.COM: Facebook | Twitter

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Hundreds of first-responders marched from Dallas Police Association headquarters, in the 1400 block of Griffin Street, to Dallas City Hall this morning. The group attended a City Council meeting where they silently demanded a pay raise.

There were so many people there from the Dallas Police Department and Dallas Fire Rescue that city council chambers had to be used as an overflow room.

A number of Dallas police officers explained that their request isn’t just about money. Thousands of officers have watched as their fellow officers left to work in other departments, for better pay.

According to a CNN report, the starting pay for a DPD officer, after completing academy training, is $44,659. That has them starting out making as much as $20,000 less than the same officers at other North Texas police agencies.

As a comparison, police officers have a starting salary of $59,501 in Arlington, $52,176 in Fort Worth, $56,754 in McKinney, and officers working for the Plano Police Department start out earning $63,757 a year according to that same CNN report..

The shooting that happened on July 7 took the lives of five police officers — four of them from DPD. Since then, Dallas City Manager A.C. Gonzalez announced plans to expand the police force, increase pay for officers and purchase additional safety equipment.

During an interview after the policemen were killed Dallas Police Chief David Brown said officers were leaving his department because they work as hard, if not harder, than officers in other cities and didn’t feel appreciated.

At Wednesday’s City Council meeting, Christian Hinojosa, president of the Dallas Hispanic Firefighter’s Association, said first-responders go into their professions to serve the community. “None of us are doing this job to get rich, but at the same time it does feel good to be valued by not only the city leadership but our community as well.”

The group didn’t address the council at the meeting today, but gathered in numbers to show their solidarity.

All of the changes proposed by City Manager Gonzalez would be achieved by shifting tax dollars from the budget, and the budget is the exact topic on the agenda for the Council next week. First-responders said they’d be back to speak at that meeting, where they’ll ask for a 5-percent pay raise every year for the next three years.

(©2016 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)