Golden Valley Police Chief Calls Staffing Shortages ‘A Concern’
Police departments across the country are struggling with staffing issues. Among them is the Golden Valley Police Department, which is also dealing with declining numbers.
“It’s a concern, but I’m not going to say critical,” said Police Chief Virgil Green.
The Minnesota Board of Peace Officer Standards and Training shows the Golden Valley Police Department has 21 active primary officers, but the city is budgeted for 31. The police department expects to lose four more staff members in July.
“I don’t want anybody to be concerned that because of those numbers, that the department is not able to provide the service of calls that we receive,” explained Green.
The Law Enforcement Labor Services Union, representing Golden Valley, says officers are weary and worn out.
“Anybody that has almost a 50 percent reduction in staff is going to be burned out with having to fill vacated shifts,” said LELS Executive Director Jim Mortenson.
He’s worried there could be more significant problems if the staffing issues aren’t rectified soon.
“You’re going to see calls that go up, and you’re not going to have the officers there to respond,” said Mortenson.
CCX News asked Green whether Golden Valley can respond to all the calls.
“We’re still meeting the needs of the citizens of Golden Valley,” said Green.
Variety of Issues Causing Staffing Shortages
There are several reasons for the staff shortages, including retirements and people leaving the profession. However, union leaders say it partially has to do with internal issues.
“They’re having issues with the leadership there within the city and the organization,” said Mortenson. “It’s causing staff to pack up their bags and move to a different department.”
Earlier this month, the city devised a plan to work with the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office to pick up the slack. The agreement is still in the final stages of being implemented.
Golden Valley is also in the process of hiring four additional police recruits. They’re expected to go through training soon. In the meantime, the city is looking for some high-quality candidates.