Due to staff shortage issues, New Boston Police say that are in a dangerous situation and need additional officers.
Mayor William Williams explained that the officers have been getting numerous calls to Rural King and Walmart — hot spots for shoplifting.
Williams added that they also get several calls to the Center for Alternative and Progressive Education (CAPE) — the alternative school for children who struggle in conventional educational settings, typically due to behavioral problems.
New Boston Police Chief Steve Goins explained that often there is only one officer working a shift. He added that the shoplifters have started fighting cops. As the day shift officer, Goins stated he is the officer typically responding to the CAPE calls, which occur as often as five times a week.
“It’s a ticking time bomb. One officer is going to get hurt seriously by himself,” Goins commented. “We have to have two officers a shift period.”
Councilman Donald Raike questioned if there is a way the Village can reduce loss due to attrition while also explaining that it seems officers are repeatedly off due to illness and injury, milking their sick leave and workers compensation.
“This may not be the way to air it,” he said. “Can we do a better job of screening these guys?”
Raike also indicated that some of these officers have work histories that foreshadowed their performance with the Department of New Boston.
Williams explained that much of the problem comes from officers leaving for better pay at other places.
“We can’t control injuries,” he further stressed.
“The people we hire, they are qualified. Some are qualified; some are not,” Goins informed Raike. “We’ve always been the training grounds for other departments.”
Raike affirmed that he supports the hiring of additional staffing but is frustrated with the problem being a consistent issue.
“Over the years, we’ve hired people that haven’t worked out for us,” Raike said. “That’s all I’m getting at. These guys take off and leave us hanging, and it just ticks me off.”
Village Solicitor Justin Blume offered suggestions, explaining that there are safety programs that focus on limiting injuries that the department could be taking advantage of.
Williams and Goins have interviewed two candidates already.
Fire Chief Chris Davis explained that his department is also short, so his guys have been getting some overtime. The fire department is currently down two firefighters, with a force of only six men. However, they have a new trainee that should be ready by the first of the year. Davis added that the men are using any remaining vacation and personal time before it runs out at the end of the year, which is also contributing to the overtime. He said that once the first of the year comes, he expects his department to be in better shape.
Council fully supported hiring additional staff members as the departments need.
“Let’s do what we need to do to get all our departments up to where they need to be,” Councilman Jon Mills stated.
New Boston Village Council meets at 6:30 p.m. on the first and third Tuesday of each month in Council Chambers at the New Boston Community Center located at 3980 Rhodes Ave., New Boston.
Reach Nikki Blankenship at 740-353-3101 ext. 1931.