Good News Story of the Week: Dallas Police Department Applications Triple After Shootings

It’s only Monday, but the good news story of the week has to be that the Dallas police force has seen job applications triple since Chief David Brown challenged people disenchanted with policing to become part of the solution.

The Dallas police came under attack on July 7, when five police officers were struck down and another nine injured by a shooter who said he was targeting white police. The shooting followed two incidents in which two black men were killed by police officers, sparking massive protests organized by the Black Lives Matter movement.

A few days later, Brown held a long, deep press conference in which he was asked about what black men could do to become less fearful of the police. He responded that they could help police their own communities.

“Become a part of the solution. Serve your communities. Don’t be a part of the problem. We’re hiring. We’re hiring. Get off that protest line and put an application in, and we’ll put you in your neighborhood, and we will help you resolve some of the problems you’re protesting about,” he said.

Whether or not more men from those communities have applied, the department is seeing an uptick in applications.

From June 8-20 of this year, the police department was receiving 11.3 applications per day. From July 8, the day after the shooting until July 20, police received an average 38.9 applications per day, a 344 percent increase.

Joining the police force is not an easy task. Brown noted that starting salaries for officers are only about $44,000, and police are asked to do far more than should be requested of them.

What we’re trying to accomplish here is above challenge. It is … We’re asking cops to be too much in the country. We are we are just asking us to do too much. Every societal failure, we put it off on the cops to solve. Not enough mental health funding, let the cop handle it. Not enough drug addiction funding, let’s give it to the cops. Here in Dallas, we have a loose dog problem. Let’s have cops chase loose dogs. You know, schools fail. Give it to the cops. Seventy percent of the African American community is being raised by single women, let’s give it to the cops to solve that as well. That’s too much to ask. Policing was never meant to solve all those problems, and I just ask for other parts of our democracy along with the free press to help to help us, and not put that burden all on law enforcement to resolve. So you know, just being pretty, pretty honest with you. You know, I have raw feelings about all of what we do and don’t ask me if you don’t want the answer.”

Brown noted that while violence is down in the city over the past decade from decades before, police officers have been leaving the force for better paying jobs. The Dallas Morning News reported that around 240 officers left the Dallas Police Department (DPD) during fiscal 2015, including nearly 50 in June.

The attrition rate in the 3,500-strong department, was 6.8 percent in fiscal 2015, or about 238 officers, the highest since the 1980s. The city only has budgeted for 200 new officers during fiscal 2016.

If anything, Brown, who was cheered for his long, impassioned, and thoughtful conference, has motivated some Dallas citizens to become part of the solution.

Find out more about applying to join the DPD.

Watch the July 11 news conference.