Since a sniper fatally shot five Dallas police officers earlier this month, applications to join the city’s police department have increased by 344 percent, the news site Fusion reported.
The department received a record number of 467 applications for the thirteen-day period between July 8 – a day after the shooting – and July 20. They received just 136 applications for the same period in June.
Police say that 25-year old Micah Johnson, an Afghanistan War veteran, carried out the attacks to avenge a series of highly-publlicized police shootings of Black men, including Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge on July 5th, and Philando Castile in the Twin Cities area a day later. Police used a tracked bomb-disposal drone to deliver a bomb to the parking garage where Johnson was holed up and detonated it. Johnson immediately died on the scene, police say.
The attacks occurred while police were patrolling a Black Lives Matter rally in downtown Dallas to protest the killings of Sterling and Castile. Since the attacks, the rhetorical backlash in the U.S. against BLM activists has risen significantly with tens of thousands signing a petition to categorize the organization as a "terrorist" group, and public chants of “Blue Lives Matter” filling such locations as the Republican National Convention.
In the days after the shooting, Dallas Police Chief David Brown urged protesters to “serve your communities” rather than rally.
“We’re hiring. Get off that protest line and put an application in. We’ll put you in your neighborhood and we will help you resolve some of the problems you’re protesting about,” Brown had said.
Brown also recently told CNN that starting officers in the city make just $44,659 a year, which is one of the lowest salaries in the nation.
“These officers risk their lives for $40,000 a year,” he said. “And this is not sustainable.”According to CNN, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawling has said the city has been working on a deal to raise salaries, which won’t be finalized until September.