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      People are lining up to be cops in Dallas after officers were gunned down last month

      People are lining up to be cops in Dallas after officers were gunned down last month People are lining up to be cops in Dallas after officers were gunned down last month People are lining up to be cops in Dallas after officers were gunned down last month
      Members of the Dallas police force on duty during a protest on July 29, 2016 (Photo via AP)

      Americas

      People are lining up to be cops in Dallas after officers were gunned down last month

      By Tamara Khandaker

      The number of people who want to work as police officers in Dallas has soared in the weeks since five cops were killed and nine were wounded by a gunman during a demonstration against police brutality last month.

      In the two-week period following the attack on July 7, 467 people applied to work for the force. That's 243 percent higher than during a similar period in the month prior.

      "We're hiring," Dallas police Chief David O. Brown had said four days after the ambush. "Get off that protest line and put an application in. And we'll put you in your neighborhood, and we will help you resolve some of the problems you're protesting about."

      The department still doesn't have specifics on where the applications are coming from or a demographic breakdown, but the surge stands in stark contrast to the difficulty the Dallas PD has had retaining officers in recent months.

      In a news conference last week, Deputy Chief Jeff Cotner, who oversees police training, said the attack had put Dallas and its leadership in the national spotlight. He said the uptick in applications was unexpected, calling it "an unprecedented outcome from a tragic event."

      In May, local news outlet WFAA said low pay and complex working conditions were triggering an "exodus" from the force.

      At $45,000, the starting salary at the Dallas PD is about $10,000 to $15,000 lower than in other forces in the area. More than 40 officers had quit in May, and nearly 50 left in June, according to the Dallas Police Association.

      That trend has also reversed in recent weeks. A news release from the department said no current recruits "have resigned or have had a change of heart about being an officer as a result of the tragic night on July 7th."

      In her speech to the Democratic National Convention last week, Hillary Clinton also brought up the response to Brown's call, saying it demonstrated "how Americans answer when the call for help goes out."

      Related: The Dallas ambush is an outlier in an unprecedented era of safety for cops

      In the meantime relations between the public and the police remain tense across the country, despite the fact that the deaths of the officers in Dallas and in other shootings have spurred some to approach officers with offerings of coffee, food, and water.

      A 23-year-old black woman was fatally shot in Maryland on Monday following a lengthy standoff with police.

      "If you don't leave, I'm going to kill you," Korryn Gaines allegedly said, while pointing a gun at officers, who then fired one round. Gaines returned fire, at which point officers shot at her again and this time killed her. She was holding her five-year-old son.

      Pressure from demonstrators associated with Black Lives Matter in New York immediately preceded New York Police Department Commissioner Bill Bratton's decision to resign this afternoon.

      Meanwhile, the rise in applicants will now give the Dallas PD, which has an approximate 15 percent acceptance rate, a larger applicant pool to choose from.

      They include Dakota Leierer, an oil field worker from Weatherford, Texas, who said he felt like with "everything going on," the time was "now or never" to join, even if it means taking a $10,000 pay cut to do so.

      The Texas and Louisiana shootings have put a spotlight on violence against police across the country, but the number of officers shot and killed on duty in the country has been steadily dropping since the 1970s — it's now less likely than it's ever been to be shot and killed as a cop, according to data from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

      The current state of affairs — 8 percent more officers have been killed since the start of this year than there were between January and August of last year — and recent events make Leierer a little nervous, but having been in life-threatening situations before because of his job, he said he isn't scared.

      The 22-year-old said he wants to help build trust between the police and the community.

      "I feel like it's just basic day-to-day interactions, treating people with respect being within the community and interacting with all types of people in their beat," he said. "It's about being out and being visible to the community as a whole."

      Related: 'I did not think I would make it home': Witnesses describe the Dallas ambush

      Follow Tamara Khandaker on Twitter: @anima_tk

      Topics: americas, crime & drugs, dallas, dallas police, police, police violence

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