The Crowley Police Department is facing an officer shortage. Each shift is supposed to have about 5 officers on patrol, right now they’re operating with only two or three, according to Police Chief Jimmy Broussard.
He says for months, officers have been doing what they can with the resources they have.
“It makes it really difficult on the officers, especially when you consider we’re a city of 13-14,000 people. Having to patrol the streets and answering those calls makes it really, really difficult when we’re that shorthanded,” said Chief Broussard.
He says city revenues are down and that’s putting new officer hires on hold.
“What makes it so bad in Crowley is, other communities may have utilities that become a revenue source for them. We’re basically just a sales and property tax community,” he explained.
The department has only $2,000 left in its overtime budget for the fiscal year, meaning they will have to make the money stretch until September.
That’s because they’ve had to pay officers to make up for the shortage.
“Many of [the officers], without the public’s knowledge, even after they get off their 12 hour shift, if they know the next shift is short, they’ll work another 5-6 hours. Free, without over time, just to protect our citizens,” he said.
Despite the shortage, the chief says response times haven’t been affected, explaining that the department has 15 reserve officers who volunteer when needed.
“These are men and women who volunteer their time, they have other jobs but they will come in. And a lot of them will come in on weekends, especially at night,” he said.
Right now there are three open positions at the department they’re hoping will help alleviate some of the issue. Broussard says he expects his force to be back at capacity soon.