Chief Brown: Dallas needs more officers, higher pay

Dallas Police Chief David Brown told Dallas City Council members on Monday that Dallas needs more police officers with higher pay.

“We don't have enough cops,” Brown said, adding that low priority calls have a response time of an hour to an hour and a half. “I think we've gotten to the point where we are doing less with less.”

Brown did try to focus on the positives, saying the city was at 50 year historical low crime rates in various categories.

Dallas Police Association President Ron Pinkston had a different take on the latest crime numbers, pointing out that violent crime and murders were up for 2015 over 2014.

"We had 9,000 violent crime victims last year. That is a high number, we have to do a better job lowering that number,” Pinkston said.

Dallas has 200 fewer officers than it did in 2010. Brown and Pinkston agree that hiring more officers and increasing pay can lower response times and violent crime.

"We're not attracting any officers to Dallas right now, and the ones we do get and train are going to Fort Worth, Austin, Plano,” Pinkston said. “All the cities are taking our trained talent because of pay."

City council member Philip Kingston said he doesn't think the city needs more officers to be safe.

“When I look Houston, and Fort Worth, and San Antonio, and Austin, and El Paso, I see significantly lower staffing per thousand, and better response times,” Kingston said.

Kingston added that the money to hire more police officers just is not there.

“We have a 900 million needs inventory in streets, we have a 300 million needs inventory in traffic signals. I'm sure people want to live in a city where the traffic signals work in the rain,” Kingston said.

Officials said it take about nine months for a newly-hired officer to work their way through training and hit the streets.

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