In light of a recruitment slump, the city of Dallas is looking for new ways to draw in more “millennial” applicants- including allowing beards on the job.
DPD Chief Renee Hall silently repealed the ban on goatees and beards, following her critical public complaints concerning the inability for the understaffed department to hire millennials in great number.
“All officers are advised General Order # 804.02 (a) 8 & 9 related to grooming standards, specifically facial hair/beards, for uniformed members shall be immediately relaxed,” the new interim policy reads. “A groomed and maintained mustache, goatee or beard is authorized. Beards must be worn with a mustache. Facial hair must not be longer than a quarter (1/4) inch in length. No portion of the beard may be exceptionally longer than the rest.”
Hall has also approved the use of Outer Vest Carriers, which will allow officers to wear Level IIIA soft armor on the outside of their uniforms, rather than the more humid and sticky alternative concealed beneath one’s shirt. It is unknown if this will extend to plate carriers, given the rise of threats in Dallas that have been able to defeat IIIA armor.
Despite the idea of lowering the recruiting age and new incentives such as relaxed grooming standards and the possibility of take-home cruisers for officers living in Dallas city limits, other easy recruitment fixes- one elephant in the room still seems to remain unaddressed- relaxing the tattoo policies. With around forty percent of polled millennials confirming they are sporting ink, the practice of long sleeves -and in many cases, entry denial- has long been one of criticism that reflects the “stuck in their ways” policies of the elder generations in policing.
According to D Magazine, a Dallas-centric news site, the potential policy changes don’t cost anything and could boost officer morale in a small but significant way.
“It’s not better pay or a guarantee of rewarding work,” author Alex Macon wrote, “But it’s something.”
In recent years, the city has been plagued with a mass-exodus of officers, who have been fleeing D-Town in droves in search of better pay, policies and more stable retirement plans.