Speaking at a meeting of the Eastport Civic Association, Police Chief Johnson had this to say:
We don't have enough eyes and ears to make you safe.
While this makes a prima facie case to hire more officers, the actual meaning of this quote is certainly more pragmatic. The chief elaborates:
I learned early on, we (police) couldn't make a community safe by ourself (sic) . You will never hear me say no to a community group.
Make no mistake--short of a martial law, there will never be enough police to catch every crime. Communities, and individual families, are invaluable in crime prevention. My problem has been the tendency of the administration to place the entire burden on communities. I have been to city council meetings where several residents testified to crimes happening, and the mayor's response was 'form a neighborhood watch'. So long as there is indeed a partnership, the chief is absolutely correct.
We also learn in this article that 8 new officers were hired from an applicant pool of 95 that passed the entrance exam. I suppose that I should be happy that this information is known, but truth be told, I kind of annoyed that this answer could not be provided by the Public Information Officer or the Police Department Spokesman, both of whom I emailed.
I was not a math major, but let's give it a try:
22 vacancies in the department
+3 officers called to military service
+4 officers on maternity leave
-8 new officers that were hired
a staffing problem only equalled by my company.
This doesn't even take into account how many officers will be retiring, or the ratio of non-patrolling supervisors to patrol officers.
I can't help but ask, if 95 people passed the test, and there are at least 22 spots to fill, why did we only hire 8?