Staffing shortages at the Greensboro police department are limiting the number of officers available for city events. With 120 vacancies in the department, finding assistance with safety and traffic management for special events is becoming increasingly difficult in the Gate City.
To meet the need, officers are being asked to work during off-duty days. Councilmember Marikay Abuzuaiter says that while they’re compensated for the extra work, the 16 and 20 hour shifts she’s hearing about are unsustainable. She fears the staffing shortage could soon reach what she calls a crisis level.
"I don’t want our officers worn so thin that when they come back to their regular shift they are still recuperating from not having had enough sleep," says Abuzuaiter. "They need some downtime to regroup, talk to their family, and just the normal things that most people do but in an officer’s world I’m sure that’s exacerbated by the things they go through every day."
Abuzuaiter says to help recruitment efforts, the city council proposed a salary raise from $46,000 to $57,000 in the next budget cycle. She adds in terms of retention efforts, officers who are currently on the force will be compensated accordingly with raises as well. The motion was passed during the May 2 city council meeting and will await action from the city manager.