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Chief's Blog: Hiring freeze depletes police staffing

Publish Date 05/17/2021
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An excerpt from Chief Smith's latest blog: 

"... We would have to eliminate elements whose officers primarily are tasked with community policing and relationship building. The officers assigned to those units would be reassigned to answer 911 calls, which is our core duty.

So far in 2021, we are losing 8.5 officers per month to attrition. Last year, the average was 7.58 per month. The number has risen steadily since 2011, when the average officer loss was just 3.25 per month. This usually is not much of an issue because we are able to fill those positions with new recruits coming out of the Academy. We have not had an Academy class since February 2020 due to funding, however, so we have continued to fall farther and farther behind on staffing. We are down 116 officers and do not have the budget to replace them.

If KCPD continues to lose officers at the 8.5 per month rate, we will have 1,151 by April 2022. That is equivalent to the amount of officers KCPD had in 1993, at which time Kansas City, Mo., had a population of about 435,000. Our city now approaches 500,000 in population. The 1,151 number assumes the 8.5 per month loss rate does not increase. Given the increases over the last 10 years, however, it seems that number will continue to climb. 

It takes 10 months of training both in our Academy and in the field until a new officer can operate independently. Hypothetically, if we were able to start a new Academy class on June 1, those recruits would not be in the work force until April 2022. Even then, they would still be on probationary status for an additional six months.

In short, our current hiring freeze is setting the Department back in adequate staffing for years to come."

Read the full blog.