Despite a recent increase in salary for Dallas police officers, the department is still struggling to hire and retain officers.
The department said Monday it continues to lose far more officers that it can hire and expects that trend to continue in 2019.
For at least the third year in a row, DPD lost more officers than it hired. According to numbers presented Monday to the city council, last fiscal year the department netted a loss of 42 officers.
Some city council members expressed concern the department is lowering its standards in an effort to recruit more officers. The passing grade for the department's new exam to qualify is only 69 percent, but the police department contends the cut-off is appropriate.
“When you go below average, 69 is below average those of us who have gone to college or even in college, that is below average. I have a problem with that one,” councilman Kevin Felder said.
Assistant Chief Angela Shaw said other departments in North Texas have a cutoff line of 60.
Dallas Police Association President Mike Mata said DPD shouldn’t be lowering its standards.
“Raising pay a major step, looking at retention next step. Lowering a standard to get an officer here is not what we need to do. Need the best of the best to come here,” Mata said.
Chief Renee Hall said the city is still conducting a study to determine how many officers the department really needs. She indicated that she may be considering some dramatic overhauls if she had city council's support.
Mata said there is no substitute for boots on the ground. He said technology is great, but someone still has to put the handcuffs on the bad guy.