Miner Editorial | The effects of short-staffed police department are becoming apparent
This summer would have been the 14th annual Junior Police Academy.
But due to staffing shortages at the Kingman Police Department, this event was canceled, after 13 years and having served almost 650 students. According to the deputy police chief, the event was canceled so the officers who would have put on the event could be used in uniformed patrols.
If Kingman is lucky, the event will be back next year.
This is just one of several challenges facing the short-staffed department, and just one service the department offers that is suffering for it.
Officers from several other additional areas of the police department have been “temporarily” reassigned in order to increase the amount of uniformed patrols. The idea behind it is having more officers on the street to help react to and deter crime.
But what have we lost because of the shortage and forced reassignment?
Besides the Junior Police Academy, our schools are also losing their school resource officers, a program that has had a vacancy since 2017. On top of that vacancy, another officer retired from the program. That leaves four to the team. Hardly enough to cover both Kingman Unified School District and the Kingman Academy of Learning.
In addition to those loses, the department has had to pull officers from the FLEX team – Kingman’s street-level narcotics unit – the traffic unit and the gang unit.
Those are a lot of specialty areas that are suddenly smaller due to this overall shortage.
The solution could be as simple as wage increases, which would help with recruitment. A wage increase that will have to be discussed in the City’s upcoming budget session.
Effects are rippling through the community with the lack of funding and non-competitive salaries. Not to mention the spots left open by those officers who are retiring.
Children in Kingman have genuinely enjoyed this academy, and to see it have to leave, even if for just a year, is a shame.