The Dallas Police Department is struggling to hire new officers. Dallas Fire-Rescue exceeded their goal for 2018.
On Wednesday, more than 50 candidates from states as far as California, conducted timed smoke-simulated techniques at the Dallas Fire-Rescue Training Headquarters.
Last year, several DFR firefighters and DPD officers retired, as city officials worked to save a failing pension fund and change the way first responder plans accrue interest. There are still several spots that need to be filled.
"That really hurt us, and we are stilling working on making changes," said Assistant Chief of Administration Dominque Artis.
He said training has increased and schedules for CPAT testing are more flexible for each firefighter candidate, attracting new recruits.
"We got a lot of new faces in a lot of new places," said Artis. "Our chief wants us to always look for innovative and efficient ways to keep our department on the forefront of things.”
Captain Delridge Williams has a close eye on the recruiting process. He said Dallas Fire-Rescue is on target to reach their hiring goal of 241 people.
"As of last week, we had about 2,500 applicants for 118 positions," said Williams. "We changed the process and now candidates are allowed to select the date for their physical agility test and civil service exam which really increased our numbers."
The Dallas Police Department hasn't been so lucky. According to Deputy Chief William Humphrey, Dallas police are looking into hiring a marketing firm to help bring in new applicants.
“DPD is still hiring," said Humphrey. "We are working on getting qualified applicants through the door."
The Dallas Police Department set a hiring goal of 250 by September 2018, roughly 75 officers have been hired.
"The appeal of the law enforcement career is not the same today as it was years ago, and that is not specific to Dallas," said Humphrey.
He said Dallas PD is expediting applications for those who are qualified, but competitive salaries and benefits in other counties often deter potential hires.
"We will continue to look at new recruiting strategies to meet our goal," said Humphrey. "There is a 10 to 12 ratio of the people that actually come through the door versus the people that we can hire."