Manpower situation in Police Dept. needs to be resolved

One of the directives that former Emergency Manager Cathy Square left us is to have an independent analysis of the Police Department.
The Department’s overtime budget is just about exhausted and there are still six months to go in the city’s fiscal year, which ends on June 30.
Police Chief Max Garbarino said that within one year 22 officers out of 30 left the department for other jobs. That often meant there was a shortage of officers for each shift, which required other officers to fill in via overtime.
Garbarino also said that when new officers are hired, they first have to be paired with an experienced officer to train. That also creates a shortage, which means more overtime.
It should be said that Square and Garbarino didn’t see eye-to-eye when it came to managing the department’s manpower. It’s safe to assume that Square thought the department could operate with fewer officers, at least at certain times of the day or night, than what Garbarino thought.
We’ll be the first to say that we are no experts in deciding how many officers it takes to properly serve our community. But one thing is sure: public safety is priority one.
Now we understand it’s easy to say that, but harder to come up with a way to budget the optimal number of officers needed.
An independent audit of the department may just be the ticket we need to assess the situation.
But ultimately, we should allow the chief of police to weigh in on the audit’s findings, because if it’s solely based on population size, the audit will be flawed.
That’s because although Hamtramck is small city, it is smack dab in the middle of a major urban area. When it comes to crime, it knows no boundaries, and criminals from Detroit and neighboring Highland Park target Hamtramck just as much as they do their hometowns.
So, yes, bring on an audit, but let’s make sure all of the factors that affect Hamtramck are taken into consideration.


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