Police Department struggles to retain officers - KLFY News 10

Police Department struggles to retain officers

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In less than a year, 15 officers with the Opelousas Police Department have left their positions. And it's that high number that's created a buzz around town. Many residents are wondering if their safety is being compromised as a result.

The halls of the department were quiet on Friday, but that doesn't mean there's less activity on the streets. But that's the notion Police Chief Perry Gallow says has taken hold around town. And after receiving countless calls and personal inquiries, he wants to clear the air.

"There is a perception there is a mass exodus of police officers and that's just not accurate," said Gallow.

Rumors swirled personnel left because over-time pay was cut, but Gallow says it's a case of bad timing and special circumstances.

"Retirement, terminations, seeking employment in the private industry as well as four officers who decided to go to another agency," said Gallow.

And like most municipalities money woes hang like a dark cloud. But luckily, the department says they can make do with their budget without too many sacrifices.

Seven of the vacancies have since been filled, but because a chunk of funding has been cut, they're only filling a couple more spots. Staffing the patrol division is their main focus.

"We've been trying and are doing more with less basically," said Gallow.

So, does less man power mean residents safety is at risk? Gallow says there's been no problem with their officers handling the volume of calls.

"It's obviously a concern, but we want to assure the people of Opelousas we are able to handle what comes to us," said Gallow.

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