SCMPD sees application numbers increase; still have vacancies - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

SCMPD sees application numbers increase; still have vacancies

CHATHAM CO., GA (WTOC) -

We are getting a clearer picture of where the Savannah-Chatham Metro Police Department stands when it comes to officer vacancies and the strength of the department.

Three hours were spent at Thursday’s City Council meeting talking about crime and officer vacancies.

The Police Chief sounded optimistic.

There are currently 83 vacancies in SCMPD. That does not include the 19 officers that are on medical, family, or military leave. 29 officers graduated from the Police Academy Friday and 15 others are currently in the September academy.

These 44 officers must also undergo seven weeks of training inside Metro’s department to learn the specifics. That means there are 127 officers that are not able to be on the streets, as of Friday.

"Growth and change can be somewhat painful," said Sgt. Calrence Few, Recruiting Unit Supervisor for SCMPD.

We have seen that change over the past year.

"Without a doubt we have seen an increase in the number of applications we get,"
said Sgt. Few.
 
The department said it has seen an increase of 805 percent in applications since January. The department received 181 applications in August. That is a significant increase compared to the average of 20 they would get a month, two years ago.
 
“We have seen a significant increase in the quality of applicants as well," said Sgt. Few.
 
Many in the department and the city believe that is in large part due to Chief Jack Lumpkin.
 
"Once the standard is set, it trickles down. If that means some officers in the past do not meet that standard then that is unfortunate and they have moved on," said Sgt. Few.

"I have heard a lot of great things from senior officers that know him personally so it is good to work under an experienced chief," said Adam Lang. Lang graduated from the Georgia Public Safety Training Center on Friday. He is one of 29 others that are set to enter the seven weeks of SCMPD training.

The city recently voted to increase starting salaries, and leaders in the department believe that SCMPD is once again competitive to other agencies in the state.
 
"I know that the perception is that we are terribly, terribly short and it takes too long to hire these people. We are chipping away at it. Every single recruiting class we are chipping away at it," said Sgt. Few.

The department lost 14 officers in August; 11 resigned, two retired, and one was fired. So far this month, the department has lost three officers.

Copyright 2015 WTOC. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly