The Dallas Observer has an article out about the new Dallas police chief who plans to “shake up command staff, detectives in effort to streamline the department.” On the whole, it sounds like Renee Hall, the new chief, has some fairly concrete plans to re-structure the department, by reducing the number of assistant chiefs and to also move many detectives back out onto patrol.

But what struck me about the article was the figure for how many recruits the DPD is apparently lacking—roughly 500 (currently, the DPD has 3,072 sworn officers). I’m very curious about this large estimate because it seems like it could mean either various things:

A: It’s similar to the recruitment number that the DPD already had from the previous year.

B: It’s close to the number that could be calculated from attrition rates – 10% of 3,000 would be 300 officers annually.

C: It’s an intentionally large number because the DPD needs a scapegoat for rising crime rates.

D: It’s a number the DPD actually believes they need in order to reach full strength.

But it should come as no surprise that the DPD is having trouble with recruitment. Police officer attrition rates are usually high; police officers are underpaid for a strenuous job that requires a rigorous interview and training process.

From my perspective then, the issue may strongly reside in choice D. Instead of trying to reach full strength, possibly the police department needs to reevaluate what “full strength” actually means. If response times are too high, possibly officers are spending too much time on non-urgent matters. Of course, this is all very easy for me to say. I’ve never been a police officer. But to possibly put this in a more favorable light—maybe an analysis needs to be done on improving job quality and lowering attrition rather than improving recruitment. Possibly a win win for everyone—a happy cop is a friendly cop is a lifelong cop.

Because for whatever reason, that large recruitment number bothers me. It remind me too much of this