The Dallas Police Department just graduated its largest class of new recruits in the department's history. According to a release, 82 new recruits reported to work on September 18.
The DPD has been engaged in an aggressive effort to recruit new officers, to fill what has been estimated as a shortage of up to 1,000 on the force, which currently has 700 officers less than it did in 2011.
Dallas has also experienced a surge in murders, with more than 135 people killed in 2019 — its highest homicide rate in a decade, and higher than other Texas cities such as Houston and San Antonio.
DPD set a hiring goal of 256. With this class, the department exceeded its goal with 282 recruits.
In a statement, Major Irene Alanis of DPD's personnel and support bureau attributes it to teamwork, saying that, "there were many people working together to help with recruiting and hiring."
That includes the DPD's recruitment efforts, along with the mayor and city council's three-year meet and confer agreement, allowing police to negotiate a pay hike for new officers.
Chief Reneé Hall says that the DPD has a commitment to attract the best and brightest while focusing on retention and attrition.
"I couldn’t be prouder of Major Alanis and the impeccable work her staff has done for the Dallas Police Department," Hall says in a statement. "We know there is still work to do, but the task couldn’t be in more capable hands as we work towards increasing the numbers."
The majority of the recruits are from Texas. Others are from California, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, and Virginia.
The demographics are diverse: 36 whites, 21 Hispanics, 20 African Americans, and five Asians. The class includes 66 men and 16 women, which is nearly 20 percent of the recruits. Alanis says that the unit has an initiative to hire more women in law enforcement.