Police Staffing Problems in Pampa

The Pampa Police force is struggling to hire and keep its own, the problem is pay.

Pampa shells out $2,300 a month for a starting officer. In Canyon, a city comparable in size, officers make just over $2,500 a month.

But get this, a smaller city like Perryton start its officers at a little over $2,400, yet another higher wage than Pampa.

NewsChannel 10's Blaire Arvin went to Pampa today and brings us more on how the staffing issues are affecting the city.

"It can get real stressful at times," says Neal Gardner, a Pampa Police Officer. Officer Neal Gardner... protecting and serving in his hometown..."It was just a big dream of mine to police here," he says.

But this isn't the only place... he puts in hours. "I have a part time job, I have to it's really tough to make ends meet with the pay we receive," he says.

23 officers are on staff... The department is working to fill three more slots. But  they still need more... "They're just getting tired and worn out," says Chief Trevlyn Pitner. "This is 911," says a dispatcher.

And this is part of the problem, call volumes are up by 20% from this time last year, in fact, officers just responded to two possible armed standoff situations last night and this morning, tying up officers for several hours.

"You don't have any time to patrol its all calls, calls, calls," says Gardner. "It's a safety issue." And lately it's been a budget issue...

But the chief is working with city commissioners to hopefully turn things around.  So officers like Gardner will continue protecting and serving.