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Dallas Police Overtime Budget Goes Over By $1 Million, Projected To Grow By Millions More

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - The Dallas Police Department's overtime budget has gone over by $1 million and there's still nearly five months left in the city's fiscal year.

It was last September when a majority of council members voted to cut DPD's overtime budget by $7 million to $17.3 million.

As of April 30, the department's overtime budget rose to $18.3 million.

The department's projections show by the end of the fiscal year, September 30, the overtime budget could grow to $30.3 million.

Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson railed against the cuts to DPD overtime before and after the council voted.

On Monday, May 10, he said he predicted the current situation.

"Sadly, I thought we'd be here at some point in the fiscal year, just probably not seven months into the year. "We could have avoided all of this if we were just more transparent with the taxpayers from the beginning."

Council member Tennell Atkins is among the council members who voted to cut the overtime.

On Monday he said, "I think we made a right decision that we looked at overtime. We are going to cut this overtime, but we also put money back into policing and that's what we did. We did say, and I did say, if we need overtime, I'd be the first one to say hey, let's go find the money, it's not like we can't find the money."

The Mayor said the council will have to take money from reserves or from other areas. "We don't have that money in the budget. So the council is going to have to figure out where to get it from. That's what's going to happen and it didn't have to be that way."

In a statement, Budget and Management Services said Monday that "The City will look to the police department to try to offset over-runs in one area with reductions from another area within their own departmental budget."

While the overall violent crime rate is down about 6% between January 1-April 30 this year from the same time last year, murder and non-negligent manslaughter cases are up by 28% year to date to 68 when compared to the same time period last year when there were 53.

The President of the Dallas Police Association, Sgt. Mike Mata, called the council's decision to cut DPD's overtime a shell game.

"The department knew we were going to come up short. We were still having protests, we were still having riots, we were still having initiatives, still having drag racing, still have intersection takeovers."

The concerns over Dallas PD's overtime budget comes as the department is trying to hire more civilians and more sworn officers.

The department has transitioned 42 jobs from sworn officers to non-sworn employees.

DPD has hired 122 civilian employees this fiscal year, while 59 have left the department.

The department has hired 68 officers during the same time period but 111 officers have left the department.

Mata said, "What it really comes down to is we need more officers and to do that, we're going to need to continue to fund the department."

Mayor Johnson said the current budget is inadequate. "It's not putting public safety first. We have an opportunity to change that in the next budget and we have to do that."

City Manager T.C. Broadnax will propose next year's budget in August.

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