Dayton police joins trend of law enforcement agencies struggling to keep officers, FOP chief says

DAYTON — The Dayton Police Department is part of a national trend of law enforcement agencies struggling to keep officers, the Dayton FOP president said.

There are many factors that make up the trend, not the least of which is the danger of the job: In the last month, three area law enforcement officers have been shot, one fatally.

Most officers understand the danger of the job, Dayton police and local FOP president Sgt. Kyle Thomas told News Center 7′s Mike Campbell on Tuesday, and that is why the officers are leaving the ranks unless they feel support from their managers and elected leaders who employ them, are paid and compensated appropriately and still feel they are serving the community.

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“These men and women make great decisions and the community needs to hear it, not from us but from people they elect,” said Thomas, who also is president of the Dayton Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 44.

“When they lose that connection to the community, to the leadership itself, compensation can shift from number two or number three on the list of priorities to be number one.”

To Sgt. Thomas’s estimation, compensation is one of the key reasons why Dayton and many other departments are losing officers who feel they may not be appreciated by the city and could be paid more somewhere else.

The sergeant said one of the keys to keeping officers is making sure elected leaders convince the community that they support their police officers.

Thomas said there are things the city is doing to tackle the problem, including increasing pay for recruits even while they are attending the police academy, reviewing the pay scales of current officers, working to approve lateral moves into the department and increasing the frequency of recruit classes.

The police department is the largest in Montgomery County and its officers handle an estimated 130,000 calls for service annually for a city where the population was 136,868 in 2022, according to the latest U.S. Census estimates.

“If you’re not meeting those things they’ll find somewhere else that will do at least a few of those things,” Sgt. Thomas said.

Campbell reports that the Dayton Police Department is having so much trouble meeting its targeted goal of officers on the street that new police Chief Kamran Afzal recently reorganized the department to allow more officers to be available to respond to calls for service.

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