It's probably impossible for a civilian to fully comprehend what Dallas police officers who saw five brother officers gunned down in a spasm of senseless violence last week are feeling. But that tragedy was the latest blow for a department that, despite the community-policing reforms that have won it accolades, has continued to suffer from serious morale, staffing, compensation and other issues that urgently cry to be addressed.
After 12 years of falling crime rates, violent crime is on the rise in Dallas, as is the time it takes for the Dallas Police Department (DPD) to respond to calls. Morale, on the other hand, is in free fall. In a 2014 Dallas Police Association survey of 1,279 members, 80 percent rated morale either "low" or the "lowest it's ever been." More than a quarter of the respondents said they're looking for jobs elsewhere.