Eugene police chief orders review of patrol operations
EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — The Eugene Police Department has to do a better job at responding to nonemergency calls, according to the agency’s chief, who has ordered a review of patrol operations.
Police Chief Chris Skinner tells The Register-Guard that supervisors disregard about a third of average daily calls deemed low priority because there aren’t enough officers to respond.
Skinner also said that a study shows that when officers do respond, it takes them about 20 minutes longer now compared to 2014. He said the department is looking at examining staffing levels and evaluating where to deploy officers.
“Everybody has really been open to taking a look at a different way of doing business,” Skinner said.
Patrick Willis, a Eugene police detective and a police union officer, said more officers are needed to respond to more calls.
“Ultimately, we have to significantly increase the amount of police officers we have, the amount of dispatchers we have and all the support professional staff that we have,” he said.
The department has 192 sworn officers, with 120 patrol officers. There are eight vacancies. The department has accelerated its hiring process by cutting it to 90 days rather than 180 days. Also, applications are being accepted at all times rather than during limited periods.
City officials are also looking at other challenges that include a need for more employees in the 911 dispatch center and the city prosecutor’s office to respond to higher demand. On another front, the cost for the city to rent jail beds from Lane County and nearby Springfield continues to increase.
Information from: The Register-Guard, http://www.registerguard.com