City leaders to be briefed on Dallas PD staffing study

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For years, the Dallas Police Department has struggled with an officer shortage.

On Monday, city leaders will be briefed on a Dallas police staffing study.

The city spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on this study.

In its nearly 400 pages, there’s still no clear cut answer as to how many officers the department needs.

It's Dallas' worst kept secret.

“It’s great the Dallas Police Department and the city were open to having external people look at their staffing and what is going on in the department,” said University of Texas at Dallas criminology professor Dr. Alex Piquero.

The study was done to try and get a clear picture of what is going wrong with staffing.

The findings stated: "DPD has long utilized the same approach for all calls for service. Regardless of severity, a sworn officer responds."

The study also found that DPD uses sworn officers for things that should be handled by civilian employees.

DPD currently has 16% civilian employees, while similar size departments have 24%, according to the study.

“There are a lot of calls for service that some citizens seem very serious, but could be dealt with six hours from now or tomorrow,” Dr. Piquero added.

Many expected the study to give an exact number for staffing.

Mike Mata, with the Dallas Police Association, said it failed to do so.

“It never says a city with a population of this, with a department the size of this, needs to have a range of this many officers, and that is very disappointing,” Mata said.

Dr. Piquero says that’s for a reason.

“There is never going to be, ‘We need 3,214 officers to patrol the city of Dallas.’ The reason why that is the case, you have changes in population, resources, crime rates, all of those things are changing monthly in the city of Dallas,” he said.

Mata said city leaders have done a good job of raising salary to try and retain officers, but the need to hire is still a top priority.

The study did not give direct numbers, but did give scenarios for staffing.

Although crime is spiking, Dr Piquero said that in his opinion, Dallas is still safe.

“Dallas is seeing these spikes in certain kinds of crime, but relative to other cities our size, we are still a very safe city,” he clarified. “It’s a cause for concern, but I am not sure yet it is a cause for panic.”

The leaders of the study will present their findings Monday morning, and council members will likely ask many questions.

The council will also talk about a new meet and confer contract with police.