Results from a recent study report that 80 percent of Dallas Police Department officers are unhappy in their jobs. Some of those officers polled even admit to actively seeking another job.
According to the Dallas Morning News, the comprehensive study included the thoughts of roughly 30 percent of the city’s police force. Of the roster of over 3,500 sworn officers, more than 1,200 officers responded to the study.
Morale Problem Undeniable
Eighty percent of those responding answered that their morale was either “low” or “as low as it has ever been.” An even larger percentage, 87 percent to be exact, reported that they feel like department administrators offer insufficient support, making it more difficult to do their jobs properly.
Annually, the department sees an average turnover of approximately 200 officers, although this number might increase in the coming year as 28 percent of officers said they were looking for employment elsewhere. Over half of responding officers characterized their job satisfaction as either “not satisfied” or “somewhat dissatisfied.”
Of those responding to the survey, over 30 percent were veterans with more than 20 years of service. Officers with between six and 10 years of service also turned out heavily to respond to the survey. All together, and perhaps most telling of officer sentiment, 78 percent of respondents said they would not encourage others to follow in their footsteps and become a Dallas Police officer.
A Silver Lining?
Despite the grim statistics, all the news isn’t bad. In fact, almost 70 percent of those responding said they hoped to or planned on spending the remainder of their professional careers as a Dallas police officer. Additionally, members of the Dallas Police Association, the organization who sponsored and prompted the study, are hopeful that the revelation of low morale will lead to an open and public dialog about what can be done to fix the problem.
After hearing many anecdotal examples of officer dissatisfaction, the Dallas Police Association decided to go forward with the study. In an effort to discover the nature of broader trends and hard data on the subject, an outside company was asked to conduct the study.
Dallas Police Association President Ron Pinkston had been listening to informal complaints and isolated comments and wanted to verify his hunch that his members were frustrated. Pinkston reacted to the study as producing concrete proof that something needs to be done. Moreover, widespread department participation in the study tends to demonstrate strong feelings on the subject and a desire for officers to have their voices heard.
The Dallas Police association has been at odds lately with Chief David Brown about several managerial choices. Among them are the subsequent firings of two officers who were involved in shootings. Additionally, changes to the department’s foot chase protocols and changes to how the police academy operates have made waves.
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