Dallas City Council poised to increase police department's overtime budget

This year, the city of Dallas is poised to increase the overtime budget for the Dallas Police Department.

There was a lot back and forth over the overtime budget last year, leading to a vocal fight between the mayor and some city council members.

Turns out last year's controversial cut to police overtime never became a reality. The department, still short on officers, simply went over budget. 

Now, the city's budget accounts for a more realistic amount of overtime, but not everyone is happy about it. 

Dallas City Councilman Adam Bazaldua questioned the city manager's decision to increase the Dallas police overtime budget. 

"No other department has the leisure to not only increase body count but also increase overtime," he said.

This after the city council's cut of $7 million from overtime last year did nothing to reduce spending. 

"When is there going to be accountability for police to get their OT under control?" Bazaldua asked.

The department explained that overtime expenses were driven by COVID restrictions, street racing, police reform protests and overall short staffing.

The city has an aggressive hiring and retention plan and expects to increase the police force to the long-sought goal of 3,200 officers by 2023. 

But Bazaldua is worried about the expanding budget in light of state restrictions on cuts to police spending in the future. 

"I'm curious as to why this is sustainable or how? Looks like we are on the way to a billion-dollar police dept in the next decade," he said.

Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia, who has been on the job for six months, now says it is important the city doesn't cut corners. 

"If you look at report after report of departments that have gotten into trouble, it has been for the lack of infrastructure as they hire," he said.