comment: This response by Officer CS was to a previous contribution from Citizen
D, but is
relevant again. Any text in blue is the editor's.
08/29/03 Response to Citizen D
a citizen, voter, and taxpayer, it would be nice to know that 82% of our
officers actually bother to LIVE IN DALLAS proper. Then I might
think that they deserve a raise. If our officers actually patrol
neighborhoods on "regular time" rather than on extra pay time,
then I would feel better about them having a caste status above the rank
and file employees.
As a police officer, I am confused
as to why my home address should affect my pay rate. Dallas Police
Officers are not required to live in the City of Dallas. (State
law prohibits such a requirement for all rank and file city employees.)
If you look at major police departments around the country, you will find only a
small minority require officers to live within the city limits of their
Myself included, many officers feel Dallas is an unsafe city in which to raise a
family. DISD schools are substandard. At least in South Dallas,
shopping is on the level of a third-world country. Who wants to
live in those conditions? I will keep my family living in Grand Prairie
and Arlington, where my car is safe on the street and my son can go to
school without running into a child of one of my arrestees.
Why do Dallas Police Officers deserve a raise? How about, it's the law?
That provision was put in into the City Charter in the 70's. That is
probably not good enough for some people; so, I'll try to list a few more
Dallas Officers are more highly trained than most surrounding police departments,
and most surrounding police agencies quickly hire ANY Dallas Officer who applies
for their department. So far this year, the DPD has added 119 officers
only to lose another 128 EXPERIENCED officers.
How can any company hire quality people and expect to maintain that workforce
with substandard pay for the industry? If IBM hires top programmers
in the industry but only offers $50,000 a year, how can they expect their newly
trained programmers not to jump ship and go to Microsoft to make $125,000 a
How good is this DPD training? At the Police Academy, it is a
regular occurrence to see many officers from surrounding jurisdictions taking
classes along side our own officers. Some of those officers drive hours to
get our training. It is just that good.
No other department has our quality of training in driving.
No other department in the state has the type of firearms training DPD uses.
Dallas has facilities to use simulated ammo in live fire situations. Officers
have the opportunity to partake in hostage rescue training, firing weapons at
moving targets that shoot back. We are highly trained and in order to keep us,
Dallas should pay fair market value.
Analogy is slippery, but this may bring the issue into focus:
The City of Dallas is trying
to rent a Lincoln, but insists on paying for a Neon.
Is is any wonder that many officers are getting the best training in the country
and then leave for higher pay?
As to Citizen D's second point regarding off-duty patrol, Citizen D has missed
Off-duty patrol of neighborhoods is a bad idea for Dallas Officers who want to
gain the pay raise we deserve. On that, I think we agree but for
Off-duty patrol doesn't cost the taxpayers any more money. North central
neighborhoods are not paying for patrol in Oak cliff neighborhoods. North
central neighborhoods pay for North central neighborhoods, and no one else.
The reason off-duty patrol is detrimental to our pay struggle is that it fools
citizens into thinking the DPD is capable of answering all 911 calls within a
timely manner. Off-duty patrols handle calls for service from the
neighborhoods they patrol, taking the burden off of regular officers and
allowing street officers to actually focus on proactive policing. In other
words, the DPD is able to do more with less.
In the struggle to get more officers and higher pay, doing more with less sets a
bad precedent. I am not saying officers should do less -
I work very hard. I give 8 hours work for 8 hours pay. When the City
plays its numbers game with response times and field staffing, extra
neighborhood patrols (ENP or off-duty patrol) hurt our cause and adversely
affect citizens' safety.
Doing more with less hurts every citizen simply because the DPD can't do more
with less everyday. It must not become our status quo.
The City's philosophy is that if DPD can be stretched this thin and still
get the job done, can't we stretch them a little thinner next year? What's
the difference? The difference is that citizens' lives are put in danger and
crime will continue to rise.
Citizen D thinks there should be some special reason that Police and Fire get a
raise while other City employees are left to wallow in poverty. I don't
think there is ANY reason that Police and Fire should get
a raise and non-sworn employees should not. All of us deserve a raise.
Will that happen? No.
This City mismanages the funds all too often. One only has to read the budget
and look at the many online-resources, including DallasArena.com to find the
City doesn't have good business sense.
Should DPD and DFD personnel get a raise? Yes.
Why? The City promised it many years ago. The City broke its word and when asked
to change, said, "Sue us." This is a bone of contention with all
sworn officers, either DFD or DPD.
Should we have to sue to get the City to stand up to it's responsibilities?
Did we have to resort to that measure? Yes.
If the City stated DFD and DPD would be paid along the scale of their
professions, morale would greatly improve. Otherwise, Dallas citizens can
look forward to another year like 1999 when the DPD hired 525 officers.
During the same year, 423 officers left the DPD. That was 423 officers who
know what they were doing, who left the DPD and were replaced by 525 new hires,
who did not know how to handle the job.
Feel safe yet? Me neither.