Jonesboro police Chief Franklin Allen talks about his department's need for more officers during a city council meeting Monday. The council is mulling creating four new officer positions in the department.
JONESBORO The Jonesboro Police Department may get some help to patrol the city.
Years ago, the city had four officers working each shift to patrol the streets but that number was reduced because of budget cuts. Mayor Joy Day said the department has three patrol officers on a shift but at times that number is reduced to two. Officers sometimes have to go out on leave for medical or family reasons, which diminishes the 24-person department’s ability to do its job.
Chief Franklin Allen and his top brass regularly go out on patrols to supplement their uniform patrol division.
But that could change soon. The city council will vote next week on a request to add four new positions to the department. If approved, the added officers will give the department the ability to have four officers on each shift again.
“More officers will help to deter petty crimes that we are experiencing as well as home and office burglaries,” Day said.
Day said the estimated cost of adding the positions is $187,000, but it could end up being somewhere in the $160,000 to $180,000 range. The council will vote on the request Monday at 7 p.m. at the police headquarters, 170 South Main St.
City leaders and residents have long viewed their police department as a source of pride that has kept them feeling safe from violent crimes. In the 2011 municipal election, several city council candidates praised the department and said more should be done to support officers.
The council debated the request at length Monday, but the discussion was not devoid of additional praise for the department. Some council members said the department had done a good enough job patrolling neighborhoods up until now that they viewed the city as an “oasis” in a desert.
Allen said the city has been fortunate that there hadn’t been many violent crimes that ended in someone’s death in recent years. But, he also said the department is facing a situation where major events, such as the car crash involving former Atlanta Hawk Daron “Mookie” Blaylock that one woman dead Friday, tax the department’s resources.
“Right now, I’ve had one officer out on family medical leave for an extended period of time,” Allen said. “I’ve got another officer who just went out for the birth of a baby. I’ve got one officer in the hospital being treated for a heart condition and I was just notified today that I have another officer who may be going out with an extended illness.”