Covington police at odds with city over manpower shortage
07/17/2015 08:09 AM
COVINGTON — As the overall number of police on the streets in Covington declines the police says the public and police are more at risk.
City officials say that they are doing the best they can to fund police services despite shrinking revenue. Revenue is dropping in the city due to a general lack of growth.
Sgt. Bryan Bogard, president of the Covington FOP, who’s seen the number of officers in the city drop from 116 to just fewer than 100, says that the loss of manpower has led to some serious issues not only for the officers but the public as well.
“I mean, there are calls being held up to an hour or even longer, for police to respond, non-emergency calls,” Bogard said. “It’s kind of a joke. We’re being pulled from stabbings to go to shootings because we don’t have enough officers available to respond throughout the city for emergency calls.”
One of the things that have led to some of the personnel shortages is anticipating retirements. Anticipating the retirements, city officials say is a challenge because, in a lot of cases, there isn’t enough advance notice to city management from officers who are retiring.
And when a new officer is hired, it will take 44 weeks of training before that officer is ready to patrol.
Bogard feels that the city manager’s office did not accurately communicate to the city commissioners the number of officers being lost through attrition which has led to the shortage.
Covington City Manager Larry Klein says his office did not hide anything from the commissioners when it came to projecting the number of retirees in the department and the total number of officers that the city can afford to hire.
“They’re aware of who’s retiring, they accept the retirements, they make the appointments at commission meetings,” Klein said. “As a government agency, all of our books are open for anyone to view.
“This past budget process, we met early on with the commission and went through the different options in the budget of having to reduce expenses. It just comes down to do we have the money to do what we need to do.”
Klein has been meeting with the Covington Police this week to try to come up with some short term solutions to try to eliminate the massive amount of overtime worked by Covington police officers and possibly find ways to increase the number of officers on board.
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