JAMESTOWN, NY (WNY News Now) — As the Jamestown Police Department struggles to hire new officers, city hall is taking flak over misrepresented recruitment data.
A Jamestown resident is raising concerns about statements Mayor Eddie Sundquist made during his state of the city address last week. In the annual speech, the Mayor touted several accomplishments including the addition of new policing roles.
“Working with our city council, we approved new officers to help with the protection of citizens through a new program which brings our police department staffing up to full force,“ explained Mayor Sundquist during his state of the city address. “This includes the approval of gun task force officers, which will continue the work of decreasing gun violence in our city. As well as a quality of life individual to deal with nuisance complaints that continue to plague our residents.”
Jamestown resident Doug Champ however highlights inaccuracies.
“The Mayor is going to make statements about something that is being done or something that has been done, that’s gotta be delineated out to the community,“ stated Champ. “Some people asked me today, oh we got a noise patrol officer, we actually have one now don’t we, no we don’t. We’ve got a gun task force, no we don’t.”
When asked how the department was doing, Police Chief Tim Jackson said his current roster consists of 61 officers. New York State’s minimum is 60. At full capacity JPD would employ 65.
These missing positions include would-be members of the new gun safety and nuisance task force.
“The problem you have is more and more apparent because of recruitment issues at hand,“ explained Champ. “Haven’t been able to get qualified people to fill in or to take place.”
To help alleviate the recruitment problems, Champ suggests funding a marketing plan to increase recruitment locally. Chief Jackson also added that the civil service list has been replenished as his recruitment push hit a snag.
We’ve received a statement from mayor Eddie Sundquist. The Mayor Said quote: “With our ARPA investments, the Jamestown Police Force is authorized to hire up to 65 officers, the most in years. Currently, the force stands at 61 officers due to recent retirements, transfers, and the challenges of hiring in the current labor market. We have been aggressive in our attempts to attract officers to Jamestown, using bonuses to try to get transfers from other departments both in, and out of, state. We also anticipate a number of high-quality officers will be made available when the Sheriff’s Academy graduates in May. We are confident we will fill these open spots in the coming months.”