New AMW officers fill need of more staff which will impact community

VIDEO: The Amarillo Animal Management and Welfare Center welcomes five new officers to the team.

AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - The Amarillo Animal Management and Welfare Center (AMW) welcomes five new officers to the team.

These new officers were the first to complete the new training academy which also included working in the field for weeks with the senior AMW officers. This addition will enhance the Amarillo AMW’s ability to respond and care for animals in the community.

In the past there wasn’t a formal training process, so they decided to create an extensive program to teach officers how to respond to calls and issue citations.

“There’s a week of training with animal care. You know, learning how to take care of animals and some basic animal handling issue of disease control. Kind of things like that. There’s also, they’ll be visiting dispatch, and they’ll also get report writing from the police department. Which we think is fantastic, so they’ll really learn how to put reports together very well,” said Rob Sherwin, Amarillo AMW interim director.

The training also includes working in the field with senior AMW officers.

These officers will respond to calls from the public and address a variety of animal issues throughout the community.

Last year they were understaffed with only a few officers, and now with the additional officers and more officers currently in training, they will be able to meet the needs of the community better and faster.

“If you have two people working the streets, it stacks up. And then your priority system is you have to go to those fight calls first. So, when they were brought in and they started getting to work four people to a shift per day, that made a huge difference and we were able to get all those calls down to where people aren’t waiting to have an animal management officer to show up,” said Sherwin.

These officers come from all different backgrounds.

Sherwin says in the past there were a lot of complaints from citizens with not enough officers to respond to calls right away. Since more officers have been working, those complains have significantly dropped.

“I think in the that past there were a lot of complaints and I’m sure to council and the city manager that they were calling, citizens were calling about dog bites, about all these things. And these calls were just simply stacking up. And so only the top priority calls got answered... And so, I think it’s an obligation to the city to do as much as we can to answer citizens’ concerns. And especially the serious ones like dangerous dog or dog bites that we have to respond to,” said Sherwin.

The Amarillo AMW expansion behind the current facility that has been under construction and is almost ready. They plan to start fully using it by this February.

Sherwin says we can expect an update on the new Director position at this week’s City Council meeting.

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