DALLAS -- As the dust settles, and the city starts to move on from the July 7th shooting ambush that killed five police officers, it's beginning to look like business as usual when it comes to the relationship between the city of Dallas and the Dallas Police Association.
And that really came to light Friday, shortly after Dallas officials released this statement from the city manager, A.C. Gonzalez:
On July 7, we experienced one of the greatest tragedies in our City`s history with the loss of five officers and many more injured. Since then, the Dallas Police Department has been working closely with City officials to identify millions of dollars to expand the police force, an increase in pay for officers and additional equipment that ensures the highest level of safety.
The City of Dallas is purchasing additional vests, helmets, ballistic panels for vehicles, cameras for helicopters and firearms for our police officers. We are also providing the DPD Fusion Center with additional tools to enhance intelligence gathering. The City and DPD are also exploring less lethal technology capabilities that increase officer safety and limit the use of firearms.
'In combination with challenges the City is facing on a number of fronts, we are reprioritizing some of our resources to fulfill Dallas Police Chief David Brown`s requests for more officers, higher pay and better equipment,' said City Manager A.C. Gonzalez. 'We are also working with elected officials at the local, state and federal levels in addition to private donors who have all expressed a desire to financially support our police department. We are committed to supporting and protecting our officers so that our officers can protect others.'
Protestors have a rally planned for today. The Dallas Police Department will not interfere with the lawful and peaceful assembly of any individuals or groups exercising their first amendment rights. DPD`s response to marches, protests and rallies has changed, but those changes will not be discussed due to security reasons.
'I am proud of how our officers are determined to continue working these events to ensure the safety of all citizens, despite such tremendous loss,' said Chief Brown. 'I appreciate the City Manager`s efforts to provide us with additional resources.'
Which looks great, right? Not to the DPA, which released a statement of their own:
Outgoing Dallas City Manager A.C. Gonzalez has repeatedly proven that he does not value the men and women in the Dallas Police Department. His misleading claim today that he is going to propose higher pay for police is an insult to every officer in our department.
The fact is A.C. Gonzalez, one of the highest paid city managers in the country with an annual salary of $400,000, is not proposing to increase the pay for all of our officers. Instead, he is offering only a slight bump in salary for a select group of officers while ignoring our more experienced officers. For him to claim anything else is, simply put, a lie. Under his plan, the pay for our officers will still lag far behind just about every city in North Texas.
If the City Manager successfully imposes his new salary plan on the department, the result will be a continued exodus of quality officers to other cities offering better pay and benefits like Fort Worth, Garland, Frisco and others. This will mean fewer officers patrolling our neighborhoods and a continued increase in our violent crime rate.
The Dallas Police Association has attempted to work with A.C. Gonzalez for the past six months to negotiate fair pay and reasonable benefits for our officers. But during this process, he has repeatedly shown his contempt for those who wear the badge by skipping meetings in the meet and confer process.
By his actions – just weeks after the tragic murders of five law enforcement officers – A.C. Gonzalez has proven he cannot be trusted to develop an honest pay and benefits package that appropriately compensates Dallas Police officers. It is now up to the individual members of the City Council to do the right thing and take seriously the service and sacrifice of the men and women who work hard every day to protect the families, schools and businesses throughout our city.
Friday we also learned that the Dallas police department has had nearly 500 men and women apply for jobs since the July 7th shooting, which is good news for a department who has been losing officers to other cities in the Metroplex due to, you guessed it, sub-par pay.
Let's hope the differences between the city, the department, and the DPA are resolved so the police officers can get out there and do what they do best: protect and serve.