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Roswell Police Department faces officer shortage

Leonard Tapia
January 18, 2017 06:55 AM

ROSWELL – The Roswell Police Department has seen a 10 to 15 percent officer vacancy for the past three years. City officials are now making efforts in hopes to fill those gaps.

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“Staffing levels at the Roswell Police Department have become a critical issue,” said Dennis Kintigh, mayor of Roswell. “We’re down actually 19 officers from where we should be.”

A number like that number has residents concerned.

“I am a little concerned about that,” Becky Ruzek said. “We do need more officers. This is a pretty good sized city for us to be down 19 officers.”

However, the city and police department are working to ensure a crisis like this does not have a grave impact on the community.

“I want the entire city staff, I want the entire community part of the solution, and the way you do that is you raise awareness,” Kintigh said.

New recruitment plans are in the works, such mass advertising and a new video series showcasing why local law enforcement chose a career as public servants.

“Locally were doing simple things such as our officers speaking about the opportunities here at the department on local radio stations,” said Todd Wildermuth, Roswell public information officer.

“We have recruitment posters up around town and different businesses. We have a recruitment banner on the police department building now. We also are now working on developing a series of videos called ‘Why I wear the Badge’, which our officers will be talking about why they became a police officer, why they work at our PD, and why they enjoy it,” Wildermuth said.

Some residents even have ideas of their own. 

“A pay raise; that would definitely get people encouraged,” Amelia Campbell said. “Do some community outreach [and] speaking to people.”

The officer shortage is nothing new in New Mexico. For years Albuquerque has faced this problem. It’s still down at least 200 officers.

The Artesia Police Department has seen low staffing levels, and other departments such as Portales and Hobbs are fully staffed, but continually accept applications. 

Credits

Leonard Tapia

Copyright 2017 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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