Police academy postponed

by Larry Lemmons
NewsChannel 10

Amarillo, Texas - The Amarillo Police Department has postponed its next police academy due to begin in January.

The class that was due to start in January will start in July. After six months and sixteen weeks, the new officers should be ready in 2011.

"It's all a matter of the recent budgetary concerns," says Sgt. Brent Barbee of the Amarillo Police Department. "It's scheduled again. We already have people on the list for it. Certainly a number of them will still be on the list for it."

Police say they're only ten short of the maximum authorized number of officers and folks shouldn't notice the difference.  Barbee says, "There could be some overtime used to make up. Look at it this way. We've got over 300 officers. Ten people - that comes to about three percent. so is three percent enough to provide any kind of a visible difference in the quality or quantity of service? I wouldn't think so."

Amarillo's in a unique position in that they straddle two counties with two law enforcement agencies eager to back each other up.  Randall County Sheriff Joel Richardson says, "There's no infighting. There's no territorial jealousies. Everybody works together. We all work for a common goal and that's to serve the people of this community."

Over the past year Potter County has been improving relations with other law enforcement.

Chief Roger Short of Potter County says, "There were issues when we got here. with regard to relationships with other agencies and I think that has a lot to do with the attitude of the previous administration. But I tell you what, a lot of weight has been lifted off these officer's shoulders to allow them the freedom to do the job they were trained to do."

APD says they should save in the neighborhood of 400-thousand dollars.