Florence police cutting services because of personnel shortage - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Florence police cutting services because of personnel shortage

The Florence Police Department asked the City Council for help maintaining officers (Source: WAFF) The Florence Police Department asked the City Council for help maintaining officers (Source: WAFF)
FLORENCE, AL (WAFF) -

The Florence Police Department is cutting services and resources because of a lack of personnel. The police department is down 23 percent.

Police Chief Ron Tyler outlined the department's personnel issues at a meeting of the City Council's Public Safety Committee on Wednesday. He begged the council to up the pay, saying they'll continue to lose officers to other city police departments.

He said the department will be pulling officers to respond mostly to 911 calls, which means they'll be more of a reactive force instead of proactive.

Tyler said they've backed off the number of detectives and are not cutting back on additional services, like funeral escorts. He said he's also eliminating the traffic division, cutting back on special event escorts, like University of North Alabama football games, and are leaving open command positions vacant.

"The police department is willing to have skin in the game and we are going to make changes to our number of supervisors, and we are willing to make cuts there," he said.

Tyler said it's getting more difficult to bring in new officers while losing others to retirement, medical and military leave.

"We are not able to keep pace with the speed that we are losing people," he said.

The police department is asking the City Council to consider new benefits and a pay raise to get more applicants.

Tyler said they haven't changed the starting rate for 25 years. However, in 2008, there was some additional longevity pay.

City leaders want to meet again in the next month to discuss further options to pay officers more.

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