A Year After Shootings, Do We Really 'Back The Blue?'

WFAA Original: Do we 'Back the Blue'?

DALLAS - After the ambush on July 7, 2016, politicians and city leaders showered Dallas police with praise and support.

"Our police are among the best in the country. I am in awe of our Dallas Police officers. We offer our gratitude to you our cops,” said Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings.

But in the months following, police say they no longer feel the love.

"I think abandoned is a fairly good emotion,” said Sr. Cpl. Kyle Land who was there the night of the ambush.

One of his best friends Sgt. Mike Smith was killed.

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"We are already fighting the fight on the street and the people who we think are behind you, they are behind us up to a point," Land said. 

Since last July, hundreds of officers and firefighters have left the department over reasons such as low pay and pension issues.

"The younger officers and the older ones like me look at it and say, 'The City of Dallas doesn't really have our backs,'” said Sgt. Steve Stribley.

Dallas police and firefighters are some of the lowest paid in North Texas.

After the ambush, the associations negotiated for a 15 percent pay increase spread across the board, paid out over three years. The majority got only a small pay increase.

"They just want to make their budget and cut their bottom line. So you combine that and all the officers are leaving because they believe their welfare is not of concern to the city,” said Sgt. Stribley.

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings and officers and firefighters recently went to blows over their pension, which is billions of dollars in debt.

The State Legislature had to intervene and now taxpayers, the city and current police and firefighters will have to pay to save it.

Small pay increases are now offset by the fact they will have to pay thousands of dollars more every year to save the pension.

"Most of them love being here, love being a police officer, but it's just, I think the politics that really hurt,” said Sr. Cpl. Herb Ebsen.

One police association asked the mayor not to participate in this year's police memorial service.

During this one year anniversary, the mayor won't be in town.

Officers say they do feel support from the community. Millions of dollars have been raised to assist the families of the fallen and the injured officers. They are thankful.

"We will be out at a red light or something, and someone will come up and thank us and shake our hands,” said Sr. Cpl. Brian Filliamgim.

It’s that community support and a desire to serve others that keeps them coming back.

© 2017 WFAA-TV


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