APD Attempts to Solve Short Staffing Problem - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

APD Attempts to Solve Short Staffing Problem

Cpl. Jerry Neufeld, Amarillo Police Department Cpl. Jerry Neufeld, Amarillo Police Department

by: Kristen Guilfoos
NewsChannel 10

Amarillo, Texas - A solution to the Amarillo Police Department's short staffing problem could be in the works. NewsChannel 10's Kristen Guilfoos has more on their plan to put more officers on the streets... And save the city some money at the same time.

Ask any City Commissioner and they'll tell you... The city's budget is tight, to say the least. Jim Simsa says, "We know our sales tax is way down."

Which means things have to be cut... Things like hiring extra police officers to bolster the force, which right now it about 14 short of where it should be. "We literally couldn't afford to hire another 6 officers right now."

But the federal government can afford it... So the APD is applying for a $1.2 million grant that would pay the salaries for six new officers.

Cpl. Jerry Neufeld says, "They can go anywhere in the department. The bike cops unit, the narcotics unit, the investigations team, in the field, anywhere."

If they do get the money, the chief plans on beefing up the motorcycle unit and adding more bike cops, who, despite their name, now actually ride in cars.

Neufeld adds, "They're out there patroling all of the neighborhoods. They're dealing with community issues, they're looking for druggies, they're serving warrants." Even though this grant would mean six officers salaries the City of Amarillo doesn't have to pay... There is a catch.

Sims says, "This is a three year deal. So after that we have to cover the cost of those salaries. We have to keep them on the force for at least one year, at least that fourth year."

As for how they'll pay for it, or how long they'll keep them on the force after that, commissioners say they'll deal with that when the time comes. 

The APD applied for this grant last year as well, but the program was cut to save the feds some money before any grant recipients were even announced.

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