And the shortage of sworn fully trained police officers is getting worse, not better.
In March, according to a staffing study on the Greensboro Police Department, there were 611 sworn fully trained police officers on the street when the Police Department was authorized for 683.
The current numbers are worse. According to Assistant City Manager Trey Davis, the current authorized strength of the Police Department was increased to 691, but the current number of fully trained sworn officers has dropped to 601.
That leaves the department 90 officers short of a full complement and explains why, at the Monday town hall meeting, several bar owners said that when they call the police, they get no response.
The numbers at first glance don’t look as bad if you include the officers in training. There are currently 17 officers in the police academy, three officers who are in the process of completing their training and 25 recruits who have been accepted into the next academy class, for a total of 45 officers that should be fully trained and on the street in the next year.
However, as James told the City Council, what the Police Department needs to get up to full strength is to graduate classes with 40 recruits.
Mainly through retirement, but also from resignations and dismissals, the Police Department loses about 60 officers a year. To stay even, the two police academy classes each year need to have about 30 officers each.
Graduating 17 officers from the current police academy class will still leave the department at a net loss because of attrition.
Since March, the Police Department is down an additional 10 officers and, according to the current police academy classes, the department is still headed in the wrong direction.
The Greensboro City Council, when faced with this issue, did include a raise for police officers in the 2021-2022 budget, but it did not raise the salaries so that Greensboro police officers are the highest paid in the Guilford County, much less the state. The City Council also refused to provide take home police cars for officers even though, according to the staffing report, Greensboro was the only police department of the peer cities they reviewed that didn’t have take home cars.