New Hires Puts BPD at 100%, but Chief Says Department Could Still Use More

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Friday, April 15, 2011 - 8:44am

Very soon eleven new officers will be patrolling the streets of Brownsville, six brand new officers to law enforcement, right out of the academy were sworn in Thursday. The others, some already peace officers, will be brought in later this month.

"Anytime you put on a uniform it's a big job, and take an oath of office to be a police officer, anywhere, regardless of the city, it's a big job,” says Brownsville Police Chief Carlos Garcia.

Here may be an even bigger job given our location and the types of crimes our officers routinely deal with.

"There are numerous variables because the size of the city, geographical location, like in our case the border, three international bridges, the situations occurring in Mexico right now along the border, and it's a big job,” says the chief.

The good news is, having a few more good men and women behind the badge means a safer city. Right now the police department is at full capacity, the department is authorized to hire 245 officers and they've met that number.

But even with the new officers, the chief says we could still use dozens more. The number of officers out patrolling our streets don't quite compare with what other cities of our size have to work with.

He says the National Institute of Justice uses a ratio to measure the number of law enforcement in our region of the US. That ratio shows for about every 1,000 people in the population, there's one officer. Crunch the numbers based on our population, we're still about 65 to 70 officers short. The need for more officers is a concern and Chief Garcia says a battle to get more behind the badge won't be an easy one.

"How much can the city afford,” he adds.

That's something he'll continue to work on, in the meantime however, his focus is to get these rookies out on the streets.

The six sworn in Thursday will train for an additional eight weeks with veteran officers at the Brownsville Police Department before going out on their own.

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