- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 27, 2018

DALLAS (AP) - The Dallas Police Department is launching a plan to recruit and retain more officers.

Nearly 300 officers have left the Dallas police force over the past two years, with many finding higher-paying police jobs in other cities, the Dallas Morning News reported .

Police Chief U. Renee Hall announced Monday she’s considering changing shifts to four 10-hour work days a week. She said the change will boost morale by allowing officers to spend more time with their families.

Hall said she also wants to incentivize healthy habits by providing officers with discounted memberships at local gyms.

Recruitment has been difficult given the shrinking pool of applicants nationally. Dallas police hope to hire 250 officers by the end of the fiscal year in September. They’ve hired 86 officers so far.

Hall said the department is trying to bring its on-site testing to New York because there’s a high recruitment interest from applicants there.

“We’re excited about where we are now, and we know that there’s a lot of work to do,” she said.

Dallas Police Association President Michael Mata said he supports efforts to improve the police department, but that it’s critical for the agency to know how many officers it needs.

“What we have right now, 3,091, is not an effective number of officers that’s going to go out there and give the citizens what they expect,” Mata said.

Police officials have discussed for more than a year commissioning a study to determine how many officers the department needs to best run. They revealed Monday a plan to hire a firm by June to conduct the study.

“You just can’t work these officers that much,” he said. “Sooner or later you’re going to get a poor product because they’re just worn out.”

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Information from: The Dallas Morning News, http://www.dallasnews.com

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