After Black Livers Matter demonstrations erupted in Dallas three weeks ago, Police Chief David Brown told protesters one way they could fix problems they see in law enforcement.
Get a job.
“We’re hiring,” Brown said in a press conference. “Get off that protest line and put an application in. We’ll put you in your neighborhood and help you resolve some of those problems.”
Now it seems some people may have been listening.
Employment applications to the Dallas Police Department have increased 344 percent since the shooting July 7 that killed five officers and injured nine more, according to statistics posted on the department’s Facebook page. It is not known whether any of the applicants were protesters or connected to the Black Lives Matter movement.
From June 8 to June 20, the department received about 11 applications per day. From July 8 to July 20, it received nearly 40 per day.
In recent months, the department was forced to cancel training academy classes for a lack of recruits.
“I know what he’s going through,” former New York police commissioner Bernard Kerik told The Washington Post just days after the Dallas shooting.
The Dallas shooting was the deadliest event for American law enforcement since the Sept. 11 terror attacks, during which Kerik led the New York Police Department.
“That statement in itself I think is representative of the way cops feel,” he said. “You want to do something for your community, get off the protest line, take the test and you can work in your community.”
Brown, though, faced criticism in June over a spree of resignations from the department over what Dallas Police Association President Ron Pinkston called, “low pay, bad management and a lack of boots on the ground.”
Some 240 officers left the Dallas Police Department during its 2015 fiscal year, according to the Dallas Morning News.
Almost 50 officers left the force in June 2016, many of them looking for higher paying positions in other North Texas cities, which pay about $8,000 more to start.
The turnover rate in the department, which employs 3,500 officers, was 6.8 percent during the 2015 fiscal year, the highest in Brown’s six-year tenure and the highest since the 1980s.
The city budgeted to hire 200 new officers during the 2016 fiscal year, though on average about 200 officers leave the department as well, according to the Dallas Morning News.
Pinkston before the July shooting said the department was “broken” and its leadership was not working to solve existing problems, the Dallas Morning News reported.
But after the shooting, Brown gained national acclaim for how forcefully he supported grieving officers and his compassionate yet stern approach to demonstrators.
“We’re asking cops to do too much in this country,” he said. “We are. Every societal failure, we put it off on the cops to solve. Not enough mental health funding, let the cops handle it. . . . Here in Dallas we got a loose dog problem; let’s have the cops chase loose dogs. Schools fail, let’s give it to the cops. . . . That’s too much to ask. Policing was never meant to solve all those problems.”
He said that if he were confronted with the same problems many Americans find in modern policing, he wouldn’t demonstrate.
“I probably wouldn’t protest or complain” he said. “I’d get involved and do something about it, by becoming part of the solution.”
Twitter users afterward tried to draft Brown for president, one job he didn’t say anything about.
(c) 2016, The Washington Post · Jacob Bogage