VIDEO: DPD Adjusts to Stress of Economy

May 11, 2010  

By Meredith Crawford

In the Dallas Police Department, police officers on the street and 9-11 operators are learning to adjust to the stress of the economy.

“The crime in Dallas has gone down and partly, I believe, because of the more manpower that we’ve put on the streets,” Senior Corporal Jo James said.

The Dallas Police Department attributes the decrease in crimes like murder, down 2.8 percent, to its continued police presence. However, in the upcoming year, fewer applicants will be hired on to the DPD.

“As a result of the reduction, we’ve had to cross train personnel to ensure that we’re still able to provide quality expedited services to the community,” Sergeant Ron Giles said.

For those already employed in the communications division, the struggling economy has created the need for cross training, therefore adding more stress to their everyday tasks.

“It’s moved me to another area in the department and I had to learn a whole new job all over again,” Shelia Clark from Police Reports said.

James said that the department would only be hiring applicants by attrition, which means that they will only replace those that are currently employed. Along with hiring fewer applicants, some police trainers have noticed that not all new recruits have the passion to be a police officer.

“They’re there because, obviously, they need to have a job as opposed to people that really want to do this as a career,” Senior Corporal Rocio Munoz said.

The reduction in staff could also affect those at the department in a harsh way.

“If you don’t have enough people to answer the phone, it’s just constant work and a lot of pressure,” Clark said.

“It’s more pressure … for these operators because they’re having to sit there having to yell and communicate with each other,” 9-11 Supervisor Santos Flores said.

“It’s a real high stressful job here you know,” Flores said. “You have to have nerves of steel in order to do the type of work we do.”

In the next year, the Dallas Police Department will be hiring fewer officers and continue to deal with the stress of the economy. The question is; will they be able to maintain the cities low crime rates as the economy continues to struggle?

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