Following the July 7 shooting in Dallas, Texas, which killed five officers and left nine injured, Police Chief David Brown encouraged Black Lives Matter supporters to forgo the protests and do one better: join the force.
In a press conference on July 11, Brown said, “We’re hiring. …We’ll put you in your neighborhood and help you resolve some of those problems.”
According to statistics, it seems Brown’s words were heeded, as employment applications more than tripled, skyrocketing from an average of 11 applicants per day in June to 40 applicants daily as of July 20.
In June, the Dallas police department suffered a steep 240 resignations, which were reportedly a result of “low pay, bad management and a lack of boots on the ground,” according to Dallas Police Association President Ron Pinkston.
Though the July shooting only further severed what Pinkston referred to as a “broken” department lacking leadership, Brown has since been nationally revered for his approach to handling the fallout, the deadliest happening among US law enforcement since 9/11.
In a press conference on July 11, Brown suggested there is too much pressure on police to solve the deep-seated issues in their communities, saying:
“We’re asking cops to do too much in this country. We are. Every societal failure, we put it off on the cops to solve. Not enough mental health funding, let the cops handle it. …Here in Dallas we got a loose dog problem; let’s have the cops chase loose dogs. Schools fail, let’s give it to the cops. …That’s too much to ask. Policing was never meant to solve all those problems. …I probably wouldn’t protest or complain. I’d get involved and do something about it, by becoming part of the solution.”
The 243 percent increase in applicants to the Dallas police department is tangible proof of the community’s interest in becoming more proactive than standing idly by waiting for change to come. It is an example to be set for cities across the map struggling to see resolution of today’s most critical societal problems.