Greensboro has 683 authorized sworn police officers and currently has 611 fully trained sworn police officers out on the streets.
The recent staffing study completed by Police Department in conjunction with the Greensboro Budget and Evaluation Department recommends that Greensboro have 16 additional authorized police officers, which would raise the full staffing level to 699.
City Councilmember Justin Outling said that the staffing study, “Indicates that leadership thinks the most effective use of money now is the salary increases.”
The staffing study used Durham, Fayetteville, High Point and Winston-Salem for peer comparison and notes that Durham and Winston-Salem are the two most similar cities in “demographics and police structure.”
The memo from the Budget and Evaluation Department also states, “Of the peer cities surveyed, Greensboro is the only city without 1:1 patrol car to officer take home program.”
This means that in all the comparison cities patrol officers are assigned their own car and in Greensboro patrol officers share cars, which is also an issue in recruitment.
The Greensboro Police Department loses about 60 officers a year, mostly through retirement, but also resignations, dismissals and other causes.
The GPD typically holds two training classes a year, so for the department to remain at current staffing the recruit classes need to graduate about 30 officers. The current class has 18 recruits and, according to Police Chief Brian James, the department has 11 officers who recently graduated from the academy and are in field training.
It takes over 10 months for a recruit to complete the police academy and field training.
Adding 16 authorized positions to the Police Department won’t have an immediate effect on the number of sworn police officers in the department, but Outling noted that the amount of overtime James requests is based on the budget for police salaries. Increasing the number of authorized officers would allow James to authorize more overtime without going over budget.
Although it was stated at the City Council work session that James could request more overtime, James reiterated that he requested overtime based on his budget, so immediately increasing the number of authorized officers would allow James to pay more overtime, put more officers on the streets immediately and stay within the budget.
Outling said, “I’m going to encourage the council to take action on April 6. There is no reason for further delay.”