Syracuse Police staffing still ‘alarmingly low’, says chief

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SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Syracuse Police continue to try and patch together a schedule for officers as staffing issues persist.

Syracuse Police Chief Kenton Buckner says the department is down about “75 to 80” officers since 2019. The department is budgeted for 425 officers.

“I can tell you today our number is alarmingly low and is causing significant issues,” Buckner said to the Syracuse Common Council Public Safety Committee on Wednesday.

A woman from Syracuse spoke during the meeting and said it took police six hours to come to her home after it was broken into. Buckner says lower level calls are the ones who are most impacted by lack of staff.

At times, staffing has reached “critical level”, which for an afternoon shift is 25 officers and for overnight is 19 officers.

“We have gotten ourselves in a little bit of a bind here as many places have with the financial impacts of COVID,” Buckner said. “We think we will get to the other side of this. The city has shown in both giving us a contract and continuing to fund police classes, we are certain we will get to the other side of this as far as staffing.”

Even with two new classes of officers coming in the next few months, Buckner says it may be a year or two before numbers return to what they’re budgeted for.

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