Salaries and Police Officers

The salary data has been up a little over 72 hours. In that time, there have been around 11,000 searches. So, obviously, there are a number of people poking around. The comments I've gotten, surprisingly enough, have been overwhelmingly positive (somewhere around 99% positive!).

However, I thought it appropriate to respond to something that, I think, has become the de-facto "party line" of the critics:

  • Summarizing a police officer: "The overtime pay doesn't come from tax money, all comes from federal grant money. If we don't use it, we lose it."

Without pointing out the obvious ("where does the federal grant money come from?"), grant money, and other tax money can all be used to pay regular salaries and hire new officers.  There are no grants that say: "you can only use this to pay excessive or exhorbitant overtime."

The money that's there can be used to hire new officers, and can certainly be spread out among more officers than just a small handful.

One of the big problems with the pay structure is that the Dallas Police Association lobbied heavily to get legislation passed that prevented the City of Dallas from raising the lowest-of-the-low without raising the highest-of-the-high as well.  That means that if the City wants to raise the salary level of recruits or rookies by 20%, instead of people making $127,000, we'd be seeing figures over $150,000.

Further, by the time we add benefits, the cost rises close to $200,000.

I'm sorry, but we can't afford this. 

Dallas currently has one of the most generous (if not the most generous) public safety retirement packages of any city in the country.  The city tried to structure its package such that Dallas Police and Fire would be a career: the more you put in, the more you would take away. In order for it to work, however, everybody needs to work together responsibly.

Here's my feeling: I think Chief Kunkle is going to fix this.  I think he has a good slate of deputy chiefs, and they're going to fix this. 

I think, ultimately, the pay parity issue will be resolved. I think we'll find a way to put a little more in the pocket of the "regular cop on the street."

But overtime abuse isn't the way to fix anything (but it does pay for the oil change on that Lexus doesn't it!).

It needs to stop. 

Our Generous Pension

You are obvisously uneducated about our pension.

We "Police and Fire" manage our own pension. The fact that it is one of the strongest in the state is thanks only to ourselves. The civilan pension is deep trouble so much so that the state is looking at the city.

This would indicate to me we have done a good job of taking care of ourselves. The City of Dallas thinks it is okay that we rank at the bottom in terms of pay compared to surrounding communities.

I wonder what the city would have done with our "generous" retirement package.

Pension Funds

So where does the money come from that goes into the pension fund that you manage?

Generosity has quite a bit more to do with "supply" than "management."

Congratulations on your good management practices, however, and as a taxpayer I truly appreciate it.

Police overtime

I looked at the top Senior Corporals in the database....I know all of them form working the DWI grants. This is overtime offered to officers that are certified to perform the Standardized Field Sobriety Test and are are not funded by the city. These overtime hours MUST be used to enforce DWI laws and are paid by the federal government through the DPD payroll system. There are usually 6 overtime positions of 6 hours offered 5 days a week. I am not in the top 50, but worked an average of 30 hrs each of the last 5 months on my days off. I think I earned it by putting at least one DWI offender in jail each shift. The only way to "fix this" is to give up the federal grant money. That money CAN NOT be used for ordinary patrol...it is dedicated to DWI enforcement.

Please support your statement that "Dallas currently has one of the most generous (if not the most generous) public safety retirement packages of any city in the country." I need to see a comparison with the top 50 public safety retirement funds before I take that statement seriously. And just for the record, our fund is well managed because it is NOT controlled by politicans......ask Houston and San Diego about that!

The top 50?

Comparing it to Houston, Austin and San Antonio was easy. We also used numbers from New York and Chicago as well as statements from Dallas public officials (which, as you've noticed, I'm taking exception with which makes me a ... ).

But, OK.

I'll need a little help to go that distance. But I agree with you, it needs to be put in context. So if you'll get a handful of guys together to help out with research, I'll help with the number crunching.

Do you want to compare it to anything other than just percentage of base salary and time-until-vesting?

Ahh, the things I volunteer to do for you guys :)

What the numbers really mean.

The huge salaries for Police and Fire aren't what they seem on the surface. If you look closely at the assignments, and prior year's assignments for the top ten police officer, senior corporal and sergeant, you'll find that most of these officers spend vast amounts of time in court.

They are DWI squad officers, traffic enforcement officers, intoxilyzers, crime scene technicians and detectives. These officers work long hours due to an imperfect system. These officers sit in court for long hours of the day, when they should be sleeping or spending time with their families. Hiring more police officers won't temper the amount of overtime these particular officers make. It is the nature of their assignment.

I do appreciate this site, as you are more than willing to tell the truth about the City of Dallas and all it's twisted policies. But before you criticize this aspect of public safety, understand the subject. The top ten officers have earned every penny. Applicants to the DWI squad are told at the interview that if they are married or thinking of getting married, not to apply. The squad works vast amounts of overtime in court. One trial may last an entire week. These officers make three to four arrests per shift. A late arrest will mean two to three hours of overtime due to the paperwork and statutorily required procedures.

The City of Dallas has a vastly inefficient court system. These officers are required to show up off duty, often on their day off. They rarely testify because the defendant will plead guilty as soon as they know the officer is there. These officers will put off their personal plans for their time off to make an appearance in City court. Often the officer will sign-in, be told by the prosecutor that the officer is free to go, and then sign back out within minutes of getting there.

Employee benefits for officers is a misnomer. The 15% pay raise was negated by a continual increase in insurance rates, despite the fact that the City of Dallas is self-insured. If the City continues the current trend, by 2007 police and fire retirees will no longer receive a pension check but will, in fact, pay the City of Dallas extra for the insurance. Comp/Vacation/Sick time are no longer benefits because they take money out of the officer's pockets.

The bottom line is that the City needs to hire more police officers. The rate of hire is not keeping up with the attrition rate. There are fewer police officers now than there were five or even ten years ago.

It's Not Numbers, It's Management

If traffic or any other division is spending an inordinate amount of time in court--for example: double someone's salary, it is indicative of a management problem.  It means the workload heaped on any one individual is too much and he or she needs help!

You make the point that the court system is inefficient. True, but can it be fixed? Of course! To this point, however, neither the voters nor the police officers have demanded it.

There is plenty of money in Dallas.

It just needs to be spent responsibly.

The city just needs to be managed.

You are right

There needs to be better way. It could be streamedlined by having a group of officer assistants. They would have limited powers to make arrest, but the power to testify. Almost a sub officer status. Pay them less, like $10 and hour and always pair them with a real officer. It is their job to show up in court and provide another voice on the scene. Keep the officers in the neighborhoods and the paperpushers in the courts.

Just the other night there was a bit of blow up not to far from my house. Over on Emmet street. There was a fight at a party and then a bit later there was the shootout.

I kind of wish the Police would come into neighborhoods where there is alot of crime and "catch and release". I can see that it costs to much to arrest petty criminals, but catching them, stopping whatever they were up to, seizing guns and dope, and letting them walk. It would discourage the behavior. As simple as it is after 11pm, get in your house, with a frisk and taking of open containers can often prevent many killings.

It seems that increased enforcement is not as critical as increased presence. Enforcemant takes cops off the street to process the paperwork of the folks they just arrested.

Call me a Libertairian but I think that folks can almost do anything inside of their own home. But, if they are on the street, they are fair game.

I have read there is a carwash in South Dallas that is a magnet for crime. So bad the City wants to condemn it. If the City knows it is a magnet for crime, why not send some police there?

It has always eluded me how the police cannot control territory. They seem so preoccupied with sending folks to jail that commit a crime, they can't stop a crime. If I was a cop I would post myself in spot where there is alot of crime, and discourge them from committing a crime.

Crime does not move to much. It happens where there are poor and discouraged folks who will do about anything for a buck and really do not give a ....

Some crimes are a business. Cut into the costs of doing business and those crimes will go down.

If it were only that simple

In your comment you said, "If I was a cop I would post myself in spot where there is alot of crime, and discourge them from committing a crime". unfortunatley we do not have the luxury of doing that. We simply do not have the man power and resources to post an officer at every high crime area in the city and still be capable of answering calls for police.

What one has to remember is that while you are posted at your "spot where there is alot of crime", other citizens are calling in to 911. Some of these calls may be a call for help from someone being attacked by a drunken family member. Some may be a call from an elderly lady that sees someone outside her window. Another may a frequent caller that calls to complain about the music from vehicles in the drive-thru of a fast food place 2-3 times a night, everynight. Regardless of the call, someone must respond.

On an average night there may be between 30-40 Officers working in Oak Cliff between the hours of 9 pm and 9 am. If there was an officer posted at every high crime spot in the area, some of these calls wouldn't get answered until the next day. Imagine the shame that some of us feel when we arrive at a family disturbance call an hour after the caller dialed 911 to find that the caller has been assaulted, and now the suspect is long gone. How would you answer her questions of , "where were you , what took so long?" Would you give her a story about budget cuts and posting officers on hot spots. The only hot spot she cares about right now is the one at her house, where a crime against her was just committed. All we can do is bow our heads, tell her that we were just dispatched 3 minutes earlier, how we are sorry that this has happened to her, and how we will do everything we can to protect her.

Everyone has an answer, and yet nobody has a solution. Please help me help you. I spend more time with your families than I do my own. I certainly don't do it for the money. There has to be a solution to this somewhere. This could be such a great city.

Miller Is The Primary Cause of Dallas Being No. 1 in Crime

What Are The Major Causes of Dallas No. 1 National Crime Rating?

Money. Mayor Miller tells us that the city gave the police a 15% raise. Not So! The city also increased the police force’s insurance costs (Dallas is self insured), resulting in most police with families seeing a little, none, or a reduction in take home pay.

Compared to other cities like Plano, Frisco, and Grapevine, to name a few, Dallas police salaries are sometimes $8,000 to $10,000 lower than neighboring cities. This results in well trained officers, at a significant cost to Dallas, quitting the Dallas force and going to the suburbs.

Manpower. The City of New York, which is No. 9 in crime, with the lowest crime rate for a city with more than 1 million people, has twice as many police officers as Dallas per 1000 population. In reverse, Dallas has half the number of officers needed to fight crime based on New York’s standard. New York is viewed as a model city today in crime prevention.

Morale. Our police officers are human beings like the rest of us. When one has been repeatedly lied to, when one is put under public scrutiny for poor performance, when one feels underpaid, used, shorted handed, and disrespected, do you think this affects the morale and the performance of our police? How would you feel under similar circumstances?

Miller. In a full page ad in the Dallas Morning News over two years ago, taken out by the Dallas Police Association, Mayor Miller’s numerous misrepresentations to the police and to the public were pointed out. One headliner said, “Mayor Miller plays fast and loose with the truth.”

Mayor Miller was instrumental in causing a major embarrassment to our City by pushing through a significant reduction in the Police workers compensation. Subsequent to this major change (1 year coverage to 13 weeks), police officers shot while on duty had to go down to city hall and practically beg (one cried) for some humanity. The City of Dallas reversed it’s new policy, apologizing for what had happened.

In conclusion, Mayor Laura Miller is primarily responsible for Dallas being No. 1 in crime nationally.

What has this cost Dallas?

Rich Sheridan
(Rich Sheridan was a Write-In Candidate for Dallas City Council, District 13, 3/22/05)

We're All Responsible For The Crime

We can blame Mayor Miller, or demoralized police officers or Mickey Mouse for the rise in crime. We can blame Don Hill or Mitch or Gary or Leo or Maxine (feel free to add to this list).

The fact is, the crime problem is directly related to serious management problems at the city and county.

There is plenty of money at the City to hire new police officers and give existing officers raises.

We allow the problems to continue.

If you want to fix these problems, there is an easy (but unattainable) way to do it: start un-electing your politicians. Keep turning over the leadership until there's true change.

But that's not going to happen in Dallas anytime soon.

Maybe when (shortly, like maybe this year) we have the highest taxes of any city in Texas, and the highest crime rate to go along with it, we can translate the apathy into action. Until then, do lock your door!

Salaries and Dallas Police Officers/Firefighters

I disagree with your view and Sharon Boyd's view on the salaries of Dallas Police Officers and Firefighters. You stated the problem with the pay structure is that the DPA lobbied heavily to get legislation passed that prevents the City of Dallas from raising the lowest-of-the-low without raising the highest-of-the-high.

However, we (DFD & DPD) lobbied for the opposite; lowest-of-the-low to get pay raises when the highest-of-the-high received raises! The citizens of Dallas voted in favor of the referendum in 1979 which established the percentages between the ranks that we have today. Back in the 1970's the Chiefs and their administrative staffs were getting large pay raises.

Meanwhile, the rest of the police officers and firefighters (including myself) were not getting pay raises of the same percentages of the Chiefs and their staffs in the 1970's.

However, now in 2005; 2 out of the past 3 years the Chiefs and their staffs have not received a pay raise while the troops have received 5% in each of the past 3 years. Now we have members that are making more than their supervisors of higher ranks.

Moreover, the Chiefs and their command staffs implements the planning, commanding, staffing, coordination, and controlling of the Departments. In addition to guiding the departments through strategic planning and forecasting for the future.

The Chiefs and their staffs are underpaid when compared to other cities and so are the regular cops on the streets and the firefighters/paramedics that put out the fires and save lives.

Furthermore, Chief Kunkle's salary when hired as the Chief of Dallas Police Department was lower than most major cities and surrounding suburbs police chiefs salaries. As a matter of fact when Chief Kunkle was hired by the City of Dallas, the City Manager and Mayor admitted to the fact that he would not make as much money as many other police chiefs of other major cities.

Moreover, I believe Chief Kunkle took a cut in pay to become the Chief of Dallas Police Department when he left the City of Arlington.

Maybe You Don't Really Disagree

I think we're saying the same thing but with different words. The effect of the referendum was to put all pay raises in "lock step" such that you couldn't raise any portion of the DPD / DFD without raising everybody's pay.

That's fine and dandy until something gets grossly out of whack like it is now. You can't fix a broken piece.

I agree with you that the chiefs are underpaid. However, would you kindly point to another city where regular officers make over $100,000 a year on a recurring basis? Would you show me another city with the retirement benefits you enjoy?

Of course, we could take that one step further to find a city that paid it's recruits $18 an hour. But I think that makes my point.

The whole thing needs fixing. We need to (1) find a way to pay everybody a fair salary (2) ease the workload and (3) get down to business.

We're all in this together. I don't have to do what I do on this website. I don't have to take the public beatings I take for trying to do the right thing--even if its sometimes less than popular at the time.

But this is my home. I want it to be great again. Maybe we can all work together and fix it, eh?