By Brooke Rogers | CBS11 News

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The Dallas Police Department is hiring, and they’re looking for more than just a few good men and women. This after a mass exodus and a pension fund crisis have made hiring tougher than usual.

Eighty-seven aspiring officers arrived at police headquarters Thursday for the first of six steps in the application process. Those who make the final cut will don the uniform of a Dallas police officer.

“It’s a great department. I’ve heard nothing but good things,” says applicant Marcus Cross, who lives in Colorado.

Another applicant, Abraham Genuth wants the job because he “loves serving the public.” Also, he says is family is ready to move. “I’ve always loved Texas, so I’ve wanted to be a police officer for a while now, so I figured I‘d come down to Dallas and give it my shot.”

Genuth is a volunteer firefighter and EMT in New York. He says last July’s police ambush in the city, which killed 5 officers, played a role in his job aspirations.

“I know that certainly those officers laid their lives on the line to protect the public, and if I can do anything that will improve the image of the police department in the eyes of the public, I would be honored to do so,” he says.

But DPD recruiters admit – the police and fire pension fund crisis made their job tougher and the need greater.

“It’s definitely affected our numbers, because we’ll have some officers that will leave that will go to other departments that pay higher. A lot of those people will come right back,” says senior corporal Raymond Milbern. “It’s tough, but we keep going.”

The department also lost 99 officers in the last two and a half months of the year. They’d like to hire 400 more, at a starting salary of just less than $47,000, before the end of the fiscal year. Milbern says they have a ways to go.

“We’ve still got a lot of work to do,” he says. “We’re getting them in as we can get them in.”

There will also be 4-day testing times in July and August. The department estimates about a third of its new hires will relocate from out of state.