Jonesboro Police Dept. to add three new officers

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - The Jonesboro Police Department will have three new officers patrolling the streets.

The Jonesboro City Council voted unanimously last week to add these new positions.

Mayor Perrin told Region 8 as the city's population increase, the city has to ensure the officer to citizen ratio stays the same.

"The city has grown about three percent per year for the last at least eight years, maybe ten. And the police department has not necessarily grown at the same rate. So with our population growth and our demand for service rising, we've kind of gotten a little bit behind on our staffing levels," Chief Mike Yates said.

Yates said the department had room in the budget to fund these officers.

"It's simply a step in the right direction trying to get our staffing level where it needs to be in order for us to continue to provide service in the city at the same level," Yates said.

Yates said there will not be an immediate impact.

"If we add three positions today, it'll be a year before they step foot on the street independently and contribute to the mission," Yates said. "By the time they complete the academy and our in-house training, the testing, physical, psychological, the drug screening, all that kind of stuff."

Once the new officers are on the streets, Yates said they will improve the department's foot traffic.

"It does have some significant impact on the street. We've grown more specialized in different areas and all of these specializations take away from our core functions. So when we add these positions, we'll be putting those back into our core functions so these will be the guys out there actually riding around in the marked patrol units."

Yates said he hopes to see even more officers on the street in the near future.

"I intend to ask for some additional staffing as we go into the budget process, but being able to do this mid-year will put us that far ahead."

Copyright 2013 KAIT. All rights reserved.