DALLAS - San Antonio police are in Dallas this week, hoping to lure local officers to their department.
One of the biggest selling points the San Antonio Police Department has is a stable retirement fund, unlike the one in Dallas that seems to be constantly at risk of collapsing.
The city of San Antonio even put up a billboard in Dallas to entice experienced officers to leave.
“We’re simply being aggressive trying to hire the best,” said Lt. Steven Trujillo with the SAPD. “The best to serve our community, the best that are willing to engage with our community and serve them and ultimately just protect the citizens of San Antonio.”
Dallas Police Association President Mike Mata was at the first informational session Monday night and says about a dozen DPD officers showed up to the recruiting event. He believes between 20 and 30 Dallas officers will end up joining the San Antonio Police Department from the two-day visit.
The recruiting event Tuesday was held at the Hilton Garden Inn in Downtown Dallas. When our cameras were there, about 10 interested officers were in the session, although recruiters wouldn’t say how many were from DPD.
The San Antonio Police Department's starting salary is about the same as DPD, but the department is offering eligible officers a $7,500 signing bonus and a housing credit for officers who buy a home within the city limits. But what seems to be the biggest draw is San Antonio's thriving pension system.
“These officer who are working here, now they're looking out for what’s best for them and their future,” Mata said. “And I don’t think anybody can look bad at them for that.”
“They are qualified, and they are experienced,” Trujillo said. “And those are some of the things that the city of San Antonio Police Department is looking for.”
Lt. Trujillo says SAPD pension is 90 percent funded, a stark contrast to the Dallas Police and Fire Pension that is headed towards bankruptcy if state lawmakers don’t take immediate action during this legislative session to fix it.
Dallas is having a hard time retaining officers and hiring new ones to replace those who leave. The department is now about 400 officers below its authorized strength of 3,600.
That has many Dallas officers working a lot of overtime to fill the gaps.
The SAPD academy is also only 16 weeks, versus the standard 32 week course. But it is only for current officers who are already licensed in the state of Texas.
Recruiters plan to return to Dallas again before the start of the academy in July.