Proposed Hiring Freeze Would Impact Police Services

Chief Brian Kozak 5-31-19

On May 28th Councilmember Dicky Shanor amended the budget by freezing future police officer vacancies to fund the Downtown Development Authority (DDA). I felt it was important for the community to know how this would impact police service. We currently have two vacancies and are expecting three more in June due to retirements. Freezing these five vacancies along with the impact of military deployments and work-related injury leave will cause a 23% (26 officer) shortage in police staffing.

Our priority is to make sure we have enough officers on the street to respond to emergencies. Thus, our contingency plan will be to only assign four of the eight school resource officers to the schools, reassigning the others to work patrol. Next, we will suspend our community events and media relations by reassigning our public information officer to patrol. Additionally, we will suspend all previously scheduled police training; such as use of force, de-escalation, crisis intervention, SWAT and bomb team training, until we are able to fill vacant positions. Finally, we will not fill openings in our Detective and Traffic Safety Units, which will cause a delay in certain investigations and eliminate proactive enforcement.

The backbone of our service is with the patrol division and the ability to respond rapidly to emergencies; we are committed to this and will reintroduce our secondary services as we can fill vacancies. I understand the very difficult job most of the Council has in finding ways to fund a non-critical quasi-government agency; The Cheyenne Police Department is ready to help in that endeavor by reducing service where we can.

Chief Brian N. Kozak