Monday, May 07, 2018

Undermanned Joplin Police Department may start cutting services

Joplin residents may soon see visible evidence of the effect an undermanned police department will have on the city.

Police Chief Matt Stewart told the Joplin City Council tonight that his department is short 13 officers and that number may increase to 19 in the near future.

In order to continue to address the department's most vital responsibilities, Stewart said, cuts may soon be made that could include such items as responding to shoplifting calls at Wal-Mart, Kohl's and other stores, responding to accidents on private property, working on curbing graffiti and providing security for events such as 5-K runs.

According to KOAM's report, Stewart said this was not something he and his department want to do.
We've put a lot of time and effort and thought into. However in order to try and maintain some kind of pro active police agency, we had to cut some things in some places just to make sure we are paying attention to what's going on.
The City Council will begin discussing the emergency services budget next month.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Can anyone provide information why the JPD is short staffed? Is it due to financial shortfalls or that people do not want the jobs?

Anonymous said...

I do have these questions on JPD and JFD compensation:

1)How does the JPD staffing compare now to before the Safety Tax was passed?

2) When comparing "total compensation" for JPD with other police salaries - is pension compensation included in the total (for comparison purposes)? At one council meeting Ryan Stanley - asked the Fire Chief about the generous pension amount and the Fire Chief said that is why he came here. Also, it was stated that the police and fire with less time - want compensation now and not wait for the pension benefits to kick in. So why not give more salary "upfront" and cut pension benefits?

3) Also, it was mentioned that police overtime amounted to over $900,000 yearly. Could not this money be used to increase police staffing and cut overtime?

4) How much of a "tax increase" - would those clamoring for an increase in police salary - be willing to pay?

5) What about all the fines and fees raised by the MANY police stops - where is this money going?

6) Why not switch to a 401K retirement plan for JPD & JFD from a pension plan (that is how the rest of us have to live)?

Anonymous said...

The times they are a changing. There was a time when there was a progression in Law Enforcement which saw the Officers from small towns progressing to Joplin, Springfield and Tulsa because the pay in those Departments was substantially higher and because those Departments were large enough to allow promotion. That is no longer the case and some of the smaller Departments have increased in size which allows their own senior Officers to have a line of progression within those Departments.

Anonymous said...

Where to start. Actually 6:03 asked the most important of all questions and one only has to wonder what those answers are? Maybe Randy should do a follow up interview of the department to answer these questions. Of course, it should be the Globe duty to seek out answers to so many of the problems Joplin is or has faced, but we know it will not happen.

Anonymous said...

Another question 6:03 should have asked:

Police salaries were compared to nearby cities (ie in NW Arkansas). Shouldn't the "cost of living" index in each of these cities - be compared to Joplin's??

Anonymous said...

The department had a good share of longtime employees, many of whom retired in the last decade. The pay is not great, but it honestly isn't that bad. 4k more a year would help a lot to being in the ballpark. Plus, these folks can get any number of off duty assignments that pay well if they want.

Somewhere along the line, a perfect storm happened. Frankly, the chiefs haven't been spectacular for quite some time. Lower pay than some. Retirements. National headline law enforcement events didn't help. Frankly, that place had, and may still have, an inside reputation for being catty, overbearing, and beaurocratic.

Law enforcement as a whole is largely way too difficult on their hiring standards. Sure, you don't want someone with some skeletons in the closet that you don't know about, but their investigative backgrounding seems largely based around the interrogation based polygraph and CVSA, which is not scientific enough to be considered accurate honestly. It more comes down to your ability to withstand questioning and accusations for a few hours, and literally, to manipulate your answers. You could be a church going boy scout and they would still find a way to make it seem to them like they are deceptive.

Honestly, law enforcement needs to consider splitting up their duties. Certain things don't require a true sworn officer. Murder, yes. Sitting on crime scene tape and doing non-injury accidents, no.

Anonymous said...

When Neosho voters refused to pass a sales tax incease in 2009 they laid off half the police and fire department.

There was no increase in crime or fires. There were less tickets written as well.

Then the economy improved and the police and dire department hires crept back up. They even now got a "code enforcement officer" to harass poor people living in North Neosho.

Really, having fewer of these donut-chomping pigs running around "serving and protecting" the Joplin Establishment is a good thing.

Anonymous said...

Say what you will, 6:57PM, but I think Joplin has a great team of law enforcement officers and a first rate team of fire-fighters. They deserve better!

Anonymous said...

The problem with the safety tax is well covered in this Globe article, "Joplin uses public-safety tax money to cover insolvent pension fund":

We were promised it wouldn't be used to prop up the Police and Firemen's Pension plan, then in 2009, right after pocketing a $2.47 million cellular-telephone franchise fee settlement windfall, the City Council spent $950,000 from the tax to shore up the pension fund, with another payment of that size in 2013, I haven't looked up the source for that.

With so many of them believing that every one of the approximately 1,600 programs the city runs are essential, Ryan Stanley actually said that when running for reelection last month, they could find unearmarked money to pay the police and firemen sufficient salaries. But they're starving them first, a typical tactic to support a demand for more taxes.

Which may well and should fail, after their bad faith last decade and continued corruption to this date, the trust shouldn't be there that they'll actually spend the money on what they promise it'll be used for. Sure, not many remember this now, but when the campaign for a tax increase starts these inconvenient facts will be brought up.

Anonymous said...

716, Well, that shouldn't be a problem then. Joplin residents support giving huge breaks to the wealthy and will gladly fund this. There will glossy police advertisements and they will justify the new taxes. Then when a democrat is in office, they will blame it on them.