DALLAS, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – At a specially called meeting Monday morning, Dallas’ new Mayor and the City Council cemented public safety as their top priority.
After his election earlier this month, Mayor Johnson had requested the meeting so he and council members could put their own stamp on the top issues city managers should focus their efforts.
Johnson said, “This is going to be government for the people, the way it’s supposed to be.”
During the meeting, he and council members showed city managers their top priorities for next year’s budget, by placing green dots by certain issues.
Even before last month’s surge in murders and violent crimes, public safety was the top priority for the council, and it remained so even after City Manager T.C. Broadnax told them he and his staff already know that.
Broadnax said, “We get that, we hear that, and it doesn’t need to make a list for us to keep on doing that.”
Mayor Johnson said.
“Clearly, I think that message was sent to the city manager’s office that whatever it is we are doing, we want to do it double-time, we want to double-down on it, we want to be more innovative, and more creative about our approach to public safety.”
Council member Cara Mendelsohn said they always need to make their message clear. “You heard them well, don’t waste your vote on public safety because that’s already part of what we do, but yet, it came up number one. I think we said no, it’s still number one.”
After losing hundreds of officers during the past several years, Dallas PD has stepped up its recruiting efforts.
Johnson said DPD is doing relatively well hiring new officers.
Starting October 1 of last year, the city’s goal was to hire 255 new officers. As of today, DPD said it has hired 158. But the problem is 169 officers have left the department during this time.
“We are on pace to achieve our hiring goals this year, so that’s good news, I was happy to hear that. But the retention issue is immediate, we can’t afford to lose officers at the rate we’ve been losing them,” said Johnson.
Other top priorities include education and workforce development, transportation and mobility solutions, affordable housing, and targeted economic development.
Council will go on recess next month, and the City manager will released his proposed budget for next year August 13.
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