Jefferson City police logging 1,000 overtime hours per month
Chief: JCPD down 16 positions
Friday, October 4, 2013
The Jefferson City Police Department is short on officers and running up the overtime hours.
At the Public Safety Committee meeting Thursday, Police Chief Roger Schroeder said the department has been averaging about 500 hours of overtime every two weeks, or 1,000 per month. Schroeder said the department is currently short 11 officers largely due to vacancy savings and the city’s early retirement plan offered this past spring. Schroeder said another three officers are on extended medical leave and two are on military leave.
“I have never, in my career, been that short,” Schroeder said.
The department currently has 89 authorized positions and 80 officers. Interim City Administrator Drew Hilpert said two of the 11 officers noted by Schroeder are civilians and not counted in the number of budgeted officers.
Schroeder said the department has been authorized to hire five more officers, a process that already has begun. But of the applicants, Schroeder said only five are strong candidates who made it to the interview stage with him. After that, they will move on to psychological and physical testing and Schroeder said it is rare that all five would make it through the next steps, though he hopes they do.
“They’re very strong candidates,” Schroeder said.
The staffing issues also have affected the department’s popular Citizen Police Academy, which Schroeder said had to be canceled due to a lack of personnel.
“We just don’t have the staffing to do it this year,” Schroeder said.
Fourth Ward Councilman Carlos Graham suggested the city look at charging organizations for the use of officers at special events. Schroeder said the department is involved in nearly 200 events annually, but the council would have to be willing to stand behind any decision to charge, noting it would take a “strong political will.”
“You’d catch a lot of heat,” Schroeder said.
Hilpert said charging definitely would be a stifle to special events since police overtime isn’t cheap.
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