Our Personal Sit and Spin

In Mayor Eric Hogue’s State of the City Address the other week, he quoted some statistics on the Wylie Police:

According to The Bureau of Justice Statistics, the average ratio of police officers to citizens for cities with a population between 25,000 and 50,000 is 1.8 officers per every 1000 citizens. That means for every 1,000 citizens, we should have 1.8 officers protecting them. The average across the country is 2.5  Our current authorized staffing in Wylie is 48 sworn police officers. Our ratio of officers per 1,000 citizens even at full staffing is 1.12. Actual current number of officers available to support our city is 40. We currently have 5 probationary police officers…that means, we have 5 new officers in training, we have one officer still in the police academy, and we have 2 open vacancies. The bottom line is that we have 40 officers out patrolling our city…which is a ratio of 0.93 officers per 1,000 citizens.  In order to reach the recommended staffing level of 1.5 per 1,000 citizens, the Wylie PD would need to be staffed with 64 officers. This would require adding 16 police officers.

I found it rather amusing the spin placed on these sorry statistics.  Oh sure, our police force is doing a good job, but I have a concern about what is actually being presented here.  If the Wylie PD is that understaffed, in order to be at the recommended level, are we beating the crap out of our police force physically and emotionally every day?

To top that off, in order to reach a total of 64 officers, the taxpayers would have to cough up another $676,416 in salary just for these new recruits.  That covers their $3,523 per month or $42,276 annually according to the recruiting flier on their website:  http://www.wylietexas.gov/departments/police/docs/brochure_2011.pdf

Of course Mayor has to beat our police department on the back, they are doing a phenomenal job considering how understaffed they are.  Sadly, I think Mayor’s point was lost once I heard the notion of needing 16 new police officers, especially when our City council seems to be doling funds out for frivolous things such as the WASA $13K donation.  Every dime that is shuffled around for the council’s pet projects is one less dime that could go toward making the citizens a whole lot safer.

Can I sleep better at night because Mayor said so?  Not easily, because there truly aren’t enough police officers on the streets and my neighborhood alone is enough to prove that every time school is out.