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The Eunice Police Department is on the verge of a staffing crisi - KATC.com | Continuous News Coverage | Acadiana-Lafayette

The Eunice Police Department is on the verge of a staffing crisis

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Eunice Police Department / KATC Eunice Police Department / KATC

The Eunice Police Department is currently short six officers, and Chief Randy Fontenot says his department is on the verge of a staffing crisis. 

The starting pay is $9.75 per hour.

Eunice Police Chief Randy Fontenot says stagnant revenues and low property taxes are the main reasons starting salaries for officers are so low.

"I don't know what other solution there would be if it's not taxes. Taxes are what keep the government going. Without taxes I don't know what other solutions there are. I don't see what extra money we have in the budget, especially to keep our police officers.," explained Fontenot  

With an average of two officers short per shift, patrol coverage has been stretched thin. 

"We don't have the officers patrolling the neighborhood like they should be," explained Fontenot

Some community members are concerned by the decrease in police presence, while some didn't notice.

"It's unfortunately really, because we're right there by them actually. And, we used to see them patrol here often but not here any more," explained Cafe Mosaic Coffee House Owner, Nathanial Johnson 
 
"I see a lot of the around. I didn't know they were shorthanded in any form or fashion," explained resident Richard Irby 

"Ive seen a couple break-ins around here, and they steal our garbage cans and just mischievous things. You know, like there's not enough patrolling," explained local saleswoman Mercedes McGoldrick

"Even simple crimes like running red lights and passing up stop signs," explained resident Laura Johnson 

"I understand they're the lowest paid police officers in the state or the area. I can understand they're not applying," explained resident Gwendilyn Semien 

Fontenot says the city has tried to increase property taxes twice in the last twenty years to pay for public services, but voters rejected both proposals. 

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