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Los Rios Police Departments faces staffing shortage

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The Los Rios Police Department is facing the ongoing problem of a decline in staffing in campus security.

The LRPD has been understaffed for the past five years, said Capt. Daniel Broussard, who works on the Cosumnes River College campus.  On a typical day, there are four officers in total patrolling the CRC campus, Broussard said.

There is one captain, one sergeant and two police officers, one on day shift and one on swing shift, Broussard said. If the police department was fully staffed, there would be one captain, one sergeant, three police officers on day shift, and two police officers on swing shift, said Broussard.

“Obviously our number one concern is the safety of our employees and our students,” said CRC Public Information Officer Kristie West. “We’re also trying to make sure that, if there is any kind of security situation, that we make sure students and employees are number one priority. Their safety is paramount to us.”

The police understaffing issue is a concern of the police department and the CRC administration, West said. However, there are aspects of it that are out of their control.

“The Los Rios Police Department is not run from the campus,” West said. “They are district employees.”

“While there are police officers that are assigned to each campus, all the hiring is done at the district level, and the funding is at the district level,” West said. “Our college is just trying to support campus police and the district in efforts to hire more officers in a timely manner.”

Broussard said that the hiring of police officers is not something simply done, but the police department is trying to do as best they can.

“The police department has been working to attract and retain good police officers. It’s a complicated process,” Broussard said.

Because police have to go through training before being eligible to be on campus, it puts a time restraint on hiring new personnel. Officers have to graduate from the police academy, go through a background and interview process, and then will need an additional six months of field training before becoming a patrol officer, Broussard said.

Nonetheless, the police department is working to maximize campus security with the resources they have.

“While staffing shortages create challenges to service delivery, LRPD is using innovative scheduling along with voluntary and mandatory officer overtime to reduce the impact to the community,” Broussard said. “Further, we have reached out to our local law enforcement partners for support when needed.”

Students said they felt that understaffing in the LRPD is an issue that causes concern, especially in light of recent events that compromised campus safety.

“We really need more police on campus,” said 27-year-old Amanda Avelar, a radio broadcasting major. “It hasn’t been secure here at all.”

Students were concerned that the campus did not have the staffing it needed to ensure campus protection.

“It’s a little disconcerting that they don’t have the reasonable resources to protect the campus,” said Jamie Shepard, 20, an anthropology major. “I would like to see more officers on campus.”

During a bomb threat incident on Wednesday, the understaffing of the LRPD became increasingly apparent.

Tim Hixon, an IT analyst at CRC and part of the Community Emergency Response Team, was outside during the incident providing additional support to the LRPD.

“For the most part, we’re here to offer additional support for the LRPD because there are so few officers and they need a lot of manpower just to set up the perimeter, so we’re supportive,” Hixon said.

In order to truly keep the campus safe and protected, a collective effort must be taken, said Broussard.

“We strongly believe that safety is both an individual and community responsibility and that we must all work collectively to optimize safety on all our campuses,” Broussard said.

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Los Rios Police Departments faces staffing shortage