The Dallas Police department has seen a spike in applications following the July 7 mass shooting that resulted in the deaths of five officers.
The department reports that it received 467 applications during the 12 days following the shooting, representing a 344 percent increase from the 136 reported during a similar period in June.
The alleged shooter during the July 7 attack on the officers at a Black Lives Matter protest was a man who had been upset by the recent shootings of Philando Castile in Falcon Heights, Minn., and Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, La. Following the shooting, Dallas Police Chief David Brown called on protestors to join the force to improve it from the inside, as CNN reported.
"Serve your communities," he said at a news conference four days after the shooting "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."
The average number of applications per day increased from 11.3 between June 8 and June 20 to 38.9 between July 8 and July 20, as Reuters reports.
"It's a shame it took a tragedy to get people to apply, but glad to see so many people willing to serve their community," Dallas resident Ben Shaw wrote on the department's Facebook page, as Reuters reported.
The department has had to cancel police academy classes in recent months due to lack of interest, as it struggles to recruit due to a lower starting salary than departments in other cities and towns in the area.
Staring salary for Dallas officers is $44,659 each year, which Brown said is the lowest in the area.
"These officers risk their lives for $40,000 a year," he told CNN. "And this is not sustainable." The tragedy led to self-reflection among the police department and a city as a whole, as The Christian Science Monitor reported.
"It has knocked the breath out of us. It has. We are sad, we are overwhelmed, we are in disbelief, we are in mourning, and, yes, we are angry," Senior Corporal Marcie St. John, a longtime partner of one of the officers killed, told the Monitor. "But we do have choices. We can choose to let the anger fester inside of us dragging us down to a darker place. Or, we can take our agony and anguish and direct it toward good, toward fostering an environment of hope.”
A vigil for the slain officers was filled with calls for coming together, as the Monitor reported. As Brown said, part of this coming together could be seen in the increase of applicants for the police force.
"We do all need to come together – it’s obviously been a very trying and debilitating time, not just here but really around the world," Cindy Freeling, who attended a vigil for officers, told the Monitor. "It’s heartbreaking listing to these stories, it’s hard not to get so emotional, listening to their friends and colleagues. But we try to put out positive messages, that people need to love one another."
At the memorial service for the Dallas officers, President Barack Obama praised the profession.
"Like police officers across the country, these men and their families shared a commitment to something larger than themselves," Obama said at the service. "The reward comes in knowing that our entire way of life in America depends on the rule of law, that the maintenance of that law is a hard and daily labor, that in this country, we don't have soldiers in the streets or militias setting the rules. Instead, we have public servants, police officers, like the men who were taken away from us."