Officers of the Jamestown Police Department have been putting in a lot of long days, according to Scott Edinger, Jamestown chief of police.
"The officers worked 710 hours of overtime in June among about 23 officers," he said. "It wears on morale of the officers. They get frustrated and then everything you deal with becomes more magnified."
That amounts to an average of nearly eight hours of overtime per officer per week.
Currently, the department is five officers short of a full roster of 31 sworn peace officers. There is also the potential to lose additional officers from the department.
"They can go somewhere else," he said, describing the opportunities available for experienced police officers. "Someplace where the wages are better and the cost of insurance less and they get to see their families more because of less overtime."
In some cases, officers are accumulating vacation time but are limited in how they can use it because of staff shortages.
"We do our best to allow all vacation requests," Edinger said. "But it's happening more and more frequently that we just can't give the officer time off."
While the department is shorthanded, it is staffed with what Edinger called "amazing people."
"At a department meeting we gave out a number of years of service awards," he said. "We gave out three lifesaving awards and exceptional duty awards. We have officers who have helped families. These things happen all the time."
David Steele, Jamestown city councilman, said the JPD does a great job for the community.
"The risks they have to take and the training they have to do," he said. "It is a difficult and high stress job."
Edinger said the increase in the job stress is at least partially due to responding to more serious calls.
"There is a lot of negativity in the things they see," Edinger said. "We brought five new officers on in the spring of this year. All were involved in deadly force incidents over the course of several months."
Edinger said hiring new officers has been difficult. During the past year, the department has advertised six times for new officers and hired one person.
"We have been very selective," he said. "We don't lower our standards to fill a vacancy."
And the department has tried to connect with community members through its citizen's academy where members of the community get a chance to learn about how the department operates. Edinger said the academy has the potential to aid in recruitment from within the community.