DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The Dallas Police Department is hoping a new plan will make it easier to attract new recruits.
Hundreds of officers have left the department during the past several years and the agency hasn’t been able to keep pace with hiring new officers.
Assistant Chief Angela Shaw, who briefed the Dallas City Council’s Public Safety Committee Monday, says the new plan would give DPD new flexibility without any sacrifices. “We’re not going to skimp on the quality. We want good quality officers out there.”
But finding good quality officers has become more challenging not only for Dallas Police, but departments nationwide.
To make it easier to attract new recruits, DPD now proposes allowing recruits who have an active, valid Texas peace officer’s license, in lieu of 45 semester hours of college.
Chief Shaw says the new plan will help attract officers with less than three years experience. “They could be looking for other opportunities to become detectives a little faster, to promote a little faster, and sometimes, at the smaller agencies, you don’t get that.”
The Public Safety Committee approved the proposal and the full city council will consider it next month.
Terrance Hopkins, President of the Black Police Association of Greater Dallas agrees. “I’m all for it. With the shortages we have, we’ve got to come up with new ideas to get people through the door. This can only help us.”
During the last fiscal year, 241 officers left DPD.
Of those, 76 had up to five years experience, while 119 worked had more than 20 years experience.
Records show DPD hired 199 new officers, short of its goal of 250, which is why police and council members back the new plan.
Chief Shaw says, “This is a big deal for the city of Dallas. We’ve never done this before. So obviously getting the program up and running I would love to get a class through of at least 25 – that would be a great start for us.”
Because these recruits would have an active, valid state peace officer’s license, Shaw says they wouldn’t need to repeat that part of the training.
But she says they would still need to be trained on DPD’s policies and procedures.
Dallas Mayor Pro Tem Casey Thomas says he’s also encouraged DPD is also working with some high schools to recruit future officers.
“Building that relationship at a young age encourages more young people to want to go into law enforcement and so we should provide that opportunity with them through what we do at Carter High School and look at other schools where we can build those other programs.”