Lansing Police Down 16 Officers, Working to Recruit More

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It's a common story in cities across the country: smaller budgets mean fewer cops on the force.

But on top of those cuts, Lansing is dealing with fewer officers for plenty of other reasons too.

With more officers than expected either opting for early retirement, quitting outright, or leaving on disability or injury the force finds itself down more than a dozen officers.

And for those fewer cops, overtime is the new norm, according to Detective Brad St. Aubin.

"There's only so much to go around before guys and gals get tired," he said.

St. Aubin said the overtime could start to take its toll in the long-run.

"They might get called in for eight hours of overtime, they might get called in for 12 hours and sooner or later people are going to want their time off to recharge their batteries," St. Aubin said.

Meanwhile Lansing City Council President Carol Wood thinks having fewer cops is already starting to pose issues.

"We hear from constituents on a regular basis who feel that it's taking longer for officers to come to calls," Wood said. "There quality of life issues if all they're doing is responding from one call to another to another that's when things fall through the cracks."

But Lansing's Interim Police Chief Mike Yankowski said police services in the city have not been affected because of fewer officers on the force.

"We are still maintaining the number of officers that are out in our districts working the road patrols and answering calls for service," Yankowski said. "When you pick up the phone and call 9-1-1 you are getting police officers responding."

Even so, with 16 spots to fill relief is on the way, according to Yankowski, but it won't be a quick fix.

"The time frame from the minute you post a position to the time you actually fill it is almost four months," he said.

During that four month period a candidate must go through interviews, background checks, physical and psychological tests, and intensive field training.

Yankowski said there are 36 applicants currently going through the background check process but the department is expected to hire at least one new officer--the first since 2009--in a few weeks.

The hiring process began in April but the department had to start over because there were too few qualified candidates, according to Yankowski.

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