DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – It may be the middle of summer, but classes started Wednesday for a new group of Dallas Police recruits.
The 65 men and women represent the largest recruiting class in 28 years.
You might think raising the starting pay of officers to $60,000 a year would explain the largest Dallas Police Department recruiting class since 1991.
But the officers in charge of hiring say aggressive advertising from coast to coast helped bring in more people to alleviate a severe hiring shortage.
“We hired you all because we need police officers,” Lt. Richard Foy told the class of recruits inside the Dallas Police Academy.
Eighty percent of the recruits come from Texas. A little less than half of them have a military background.
They are men and women of different color and backgrounds.
With the department about 1,000 officers short of the city’s need, the starting pay was raised to $60,000.
If that motivated these recruits to apply they won’t say, telling CBS 11 they feel a calling to serve.
“It wasn’t money at all,” said recruit Cherika Smith. “Since I was a little girl I’ve always wanted to become a police officer
“I figured I could work for a city that really needs help and really needs police officers,” said recruit Adam Kaczmarsk.
Those recruits and others still have to pass nine months of intense classroom physical and situational training before they become sworn officers.
This is the second recruiting class since the pay raise took effect. The previous one had 40 recruits. That means more than 100 officers could be on the street by the middle of next year.