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Editor's 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


8/27/2003
Citizen D:
As 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 particular jurisdiction. 

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 concrete reasons.

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 year? 

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 the point.  

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 different reasons. 

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?  No. 

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.

 

                                        

    





                            

 

  Ward politics is the Devil's key to the soul of the city council.  It is how some council members got themselves in trouble in the past.  It is the bait that will get others in trouble in the future. 4/6/8