SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Staffing woes still plaque nearly every industry from food service to healthcare and even law enforcement.
“Like any other organization, we’re hurting right now,” says Sgt. Nick Mannix with the Schenectady Police Department. The department has around 10 vacancies to fill to bring them up to contractual levels. Though, the number may not seem drastic, Sgt. Mannix says it is playing a role in the amount of overtime officers are working and how often they work.
“Unfortunately, if we don’t have the numbers to go out on the streets safely then these guys end up getting mandated [overtime]. The most they can work is 16-hour shifts, but it’s still a lot, especially during the summer time when call volume is up and it gets busier,” Mannix explains.
The officers who are being affected the most, according to Mannix, are those out on patrol but the administration is “working on controlling burnout” as much as possible. Vacancies are due to a number of issues such as retirement, sickness/injury, or just a lack of interest in becoming a police officer.
“It’s been more of a concerted effort on our part to do more as far as recruiting goals at any event we can go to. We realize it’s a tough job and it’s an interesting time to be a police officer. It’s still a really good job and a really fulfilling and rewarding job,” says Mannix.
Albany Police Department spokesperson Steve Smith says his department, like many across the state and country, is in a similar boat. APD is around 61 officers short out of the 343 that are budgeted.
Smith says the department recently recruited around 400 people for the upcoming civil service exam in September. But, not all will make it through to become sworn officers. Some could also be waiting long before they ever make it to the academy. “It can take about up to a year sometimes, that’s why I always encourage people who think they are interested in taking the police officers exam to just do it. It’s just a test on a Saturday afternoon where you spend a few hours taking a written exam because the process does take awhile,” Smith says.