STATESBORO, Ga. (WSAV) – According to an internal study by the department, Statesboro Police could use up to 28 more patrol officers on top of its 77 authorized employees.
However, Chief Mike Broadhead realizes that funding and hiring 28 officers is easier said than done.
Instead, he’s asking to add eight patrol officer positions in the fiscal year 2022 budget. These include two positions never filled due to the hiring freeze over COVID-19 pandemic concerns.
The other six positions could be the start of a phased approach of staffing suggested by an International Association of Chiefs of Police, or IACP, formula used in the study.
The Statesboro Police Department’s (SPD) study based staffing needs on three different factors: officers per 1,000 residents, officers needed to patrol different areas of a city and the IACP modified workload analysis.
“We want to make sure we give officers appropriate time off, not having to call people in for overtime on their days off to fill in shifts and simply having enough officers at any given time to handle the workload,” explained Broadhead.
The SPD currently has 70 employees actually on payroll, including shift supervisors, officers with special duties, detectives and those in regular patrol positions.
Broadhead says right now, it’s hard to find people willing to join the force.
“There is a lot of vilification of police, and good young candidates say, ‘Why would I want to take that on?'” Broadhead said. “If we can help intricate that the vast majority of policing is going correctly, and there’s a million calls in the country for policing that are going right, let’s show that. We have to get the message out to make the job itself more attractive.”
Broadhead notes another reason for trouble finding candidates is because of the insufficient pay.
“When you see other comparable cities competing for the same pool of people, you have to put some bait on the hook to get people interested in coming to your agency,” the chief explained.
Broadhead says he hopes to see the city head in a direction of more compensation for the police department, which will hopefully help bring in an influx of interested candidates over the next few years.