DPD Recruitment Policies Scrutinized in Audit

Dallas Police Department Recruits at graduation
Dallas Police Department Recruits at graduation | Image by Dallas Police Department Recruiting/Facebook

A City audit recommended several changes to the Dallas Police Department’s recruitment policies to increase efficiency and oversight.

The results of an audit of DPD actions between FY 2020 and FY 2022 by the Office of the City Auditor were revealed at Tuesday’s Public Safety Committee meeting. Rory Galter, the audit manager, and DPD officials were in attendance.

As Galter explained, six recommendations were given to DPD, with one rated high-risk and the others low-risk.

The audit found a potentially high-risk shortfall in DPD using a single third-party vendor to perform polygraphs for officer candidates.

“There’s an incentive there to fail applicants because [the company] can generate additional revenues by doing the second test,” Galter said.

The audit report recommended that DPD amend its polygraph policy to provide better oversight by requiring candidates’ retests to be performed by a different vendor. Moreover, Galter suggested establishing a clear appeals process should a candidate who failed the polygraph choose to challenge the results.

DPD officials informed Galter and the committee that while a candidate who fails the initial polygraph could be referred to Dallas Fire-Rescue for a second test, training was underway to empower the department to administer polygraphs internally.

Other issues flagged by auditors were labeled more low-risk, yet they included a considerable absence of oversight in online testing. For instance, the report noted that DPD had no policy requiring that a candidate’s identity be verified before a test is administered.

Another recommendation made by Galter was for the Civil Service Department to no longer place a 30-day freeze on DPD candidates’ applications if they were found to be erroneous. While in theory, the freeze allows candidates to correct errors, in practice, the audit found that candidates were locked out and forced to resubmit a new application.

“If I was filling out a job application and I had mis-checked a box and I had to wait 30 days to reapply, I would not want to work for that organization,” remarked Council Member Cara Mendelsohn (District 12) during the meeting.

The recruitment and retention of new DPD officers has been a major issue, with only around 3,000 officers currently fielded despite a City analysis recommending closer to 4,000 to ensure public safety.

Earlier this year, DPD officials released a memo explaining it was revisiting recruitment disqualifiers in a bid to be “more modern,” as covered by The Dallas Express. It has also stepped up its employment benefits — such as a daycare program — and recruitment events.

A DPD spokesperson told The Dallas Express that the department had 201 open positions as of April 9.

As previously reported by The Dallas Express, despite some reductions in certain categories of violent crime, overall criminal activity in Dallas has been steadily ticking up for years. Even still, the Dallas City Council has chosen to spend fewer taxpayer dollars on policing than its counterparts in other high-crime jurisdictions, such as New York City, Chicago, and Los Angeles, budgeting only $654 million for DPD this fiscal year.

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