JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMIZ)
The Jefferson City Council has approved $50,000 to help with a marketing campaign and recruitment for the Jefferson City Police Department.
“I think as many law enforcement agencies across the country that are finding it hard to attract people into a very challenging, a very rewarding but a very challenging profession. We continue to have some vacancies," Mayor Ron Fitzwater said.
Despite the shortage, Fitzwater says that the vacancies have no effect on public safety but the police department can only get by so long with officers working overtime
The shortage is only in the single digits or only “slighty above that,” Fitzwater said. One of their biggest concerns is the recent lack of applicants.
“The biggest thing is we don’t have, the number of applications that we used to have,” Ward 1 Councilman Jack Deekan said. “With the recruitment ... we thought as a police department and a number of the council people thought that instead of going the standard way, reach out to other cities and tell them that this is a very nice place to live and we support our police department.”
The city will be using the telecommunications company High 5 to help with the campaign.
“That’s why the expense is higher than normal. To have a really well-focused campaign," Deekman said. "Not just to the other cities but also to the recent graduates from law enforcement academies and just try to refocus our recruitment efforts on a national scale."
Fitzwater said High 5 has tools to expand the city's recruiting reach.
“We have a lot of faith," he said. "We invested a lot of dollars or made the dollars available to invest and I think it will be successful. If not we will regroup and figure out what we need to do.”
The mayor's proposed budget for fiscal 2024, which starts Nov. 1, includes more than $5.6 million for police department salaries. Overtime pay is pegged at more than a quarter-million dollars.