DALLAS -- Former Dallas Police Assistant Chief Marlin Price says the Dallas Police Department is in trouble. Hundreds of officers have left over low pay and a failing pension system.

”We are worried about the problems that we have with our pension and what that foretells for the future for the citizens of Dallas,” said Price.

In a historic move, he and other former Dallas Police Department brass wrote a letter predicting dire consequences.

“We believe the city of Dallas is facing a future public safety crisis that may result in significant crime increase. We are concerned about not becoming the next Chicago and not becoming the city that does not take care of its citizens,” said Price.

The department is already in crisis. WFAA has learned violent crime is up 9 percent from this time last year.
It’s also taking officers about 23 minutes to respond to priority two calls, like domestic violence and assaults. It should take 12 minutes.

More officers continue to resign. On Tuesday, five more officers left. The department is hundreds of officers short. WFAA asked interim Chief David Pughes about the issues.

”We are trying to deal with the lack of staffing and the attrition we have seen this year and last year,” said Pughes.

The department is having a tough time finding enough officers to not only answer calls but also to investigate crimes. The domestic violence unit alone is down 10 detectives.

“Those places that work outside our patrol divisions. Those are those places that when people retire, we are probably not going to be able to fill those anytime soon,” said Pughes.

The former chiefs say more officers will leave if the pension system isn’t fixed. It’s billions of dollars in the red. They say it will take years to fix the mess Dallas Police Department is in now, and it will only get worse.