Residents raise concerns about police officer shortage - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Residents raise concerns about police officer shortage

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Residents say they are concerned about the police officer shortage (WFSB) Residents say they are concerned about the police officer shortage (WFSB)

It was a packed meeting in New London Monday night as people in the city call for more police officers on the streets.

Some residents say they don't feel comfortable walking in the downtown area during the day.

The police union says the city has 38 officers in the patrol division to cover the city 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

That means officers are being forced to work double shifts.

On Monday evening, people filled the city council chamber calling for something to be done.

“I want to feel safe,” said Kathleen Mitchell.

“How many innocent people have to get hurt before we do something,” said John Maynard.

The Neighborhood Alliance of New London urged city leaders to find a way to fund the hiring of more city police officers.

“It's unacceptable. It needs to change and it needs to change immediately,” said Jay Wheeler.

“New London is a safe city but we aren't as safe as we could be,” said Officer Todd Lynch, president of the police union.

He said a city ordinance requires a minimum of 80 officers, but the department doesn't have that many.

“We've become much more reactive than proactive than we used to be. Fewer cops mean you're going from call to call to call. You don't have the ability to go out and find things before they happen,” Lynch said.

Council members say they hear the calls. They are taking steps to try to add one or two more officers this year, and continuing to build the department, but local and state budget issues make that a difficult task.

“I would like to try to meet in the middle to make it fair for everyone but some people don't want to hear that,” said City Council President Anthony Nolan.

The council president says they are considering moving some of the funds from the police overtime budget to hire a new officer.

The mayor says he too is trying to find ways to boost the force.

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