The Dallas Police Department (DPD) is facing an uphill battle in its efforts to reduce crime as it continues to deal with a significant staffing shortage.
Police Chief Eddie Garcia addressed the issue in a sit-down interview with The Dallas Express earlier this month.
“We need hundreds of more officers in the city of Dallas. There’s no question about it, you know, not only is the recruiting portion important, but the retention part as well,” said Garcia.
He told The Dallas Express that the department hired 200 officers last year but lost 237 to resignations, retirements, and dismissals.
“We have to make sure that we look at both ends — on the recruiting perspective and the retention. The reality of it is … I can have a class of 50 people that start Academy today, but we’re not going to recognize their efficiency and their effectiveness for a year and a half after the Academy and training and everything else. So equally as important, if not more so, is the retention of men and women,” Garcia explained.
While Garcia pointed approvingly to “support from the mayor and council and the city manager’s office,” City leaders have not yet managed to get a handle on the problem.
“We were just able to get that bonus for people to stick around two more years when they hit the 28-year mark … There’s a lot of holes we gotta patch, we’re not going to get out of this mess overnight, but definitely staffing is an issue, and we need to grow,” Garcia said.
He told The Dallas Express that ensuring officers can enjoy a decent quality of life is one way to address the issue, detailing one plan DPD developed to improve officers’ work-life balance.
“We’re going to implement a [four-day work week, 10 hours per day]. We’re going to pilot that at one of the stations, and unless that falls flat on its face, I’d like to implement [that] work schedule citywide by the end of the year,” Garcia said.
“It’s those types of things that we have to look in the department to figure out what makes the quality of life better for the men and women,” he added.
Dallas has logged an alarming spike in murders since the beginning of the new year, with 95 reported by DPD as of May 1, marking a 23.4% year-over-year increase.
More up-to-date crime statistics are currently unavailable, allegedly due to a purported cyberattack targeting City computer systems, as previously reported by The Dallas Express.
Note: This article was updated on June 12, 2023, at 11:50 a.m. to reflect Chief Garcia’s full sentiment concerning support from City leaders.