Dallas is set to pay veteran police officers a one-time bonus of $40,000 to entice them to remain on the force for another two years in an attempt to tackle a shortage of staff.
$40,000 One-Time Bonus
The incentive program is part of a broader effort by the city to slow attrition and encourage senior officers to remain in the department as the force struggles with a loss of roughly 200 officers each year. The program is expected to begin in May, with the city hoping to retain up to 70 of its most experienced officers.
To be eligible for the program, officers must have served at least 28 years with the department and must work at least 444 days over the two-year period. The payout is part of a $4 million budget that was approved by the City Council last fall, which aims to encourage police officers to delay their retirement, according to a published article in The Dallas Morning News.
The program comes after the Dallas police department reported falling 50 officers short of its target of hiring 250 new officers in the last fiscal year. Dallas is not alone in facing difficulties in recruiting and retaining police officers, with cities across the country experiencing a significant uptick in retiring officers.
Deputy Assistant Chief Released a Statement
Deputy Assistant Chief William Griffith believes the program will be a success and is confident that the city will be able to retain the 70 officers it needs. He also said that the department is looking into a possible incentive program to retain mid-career officers. The city has been trying to bounce back from the mid-2010s when hundreds of officers left the department amid concerns that the city’s Police and Fire Pension System was about to collapse.
According to Griffith, the average experience of many officers leaving the department is around 28 years. With the retirement threshold approaching, many officers are deciding to leave with their pensions. Griffith hopes that the incentive program will encourage officers to stay a little longer and that the department will be able to retain that experience and seniority.
Overall, the Dallas police department had around 3,058 officers at the beginning of March, and it is hoped that the bonus program will help the department to meet its recruitment targets and tackle the shortage of staff.