With the resignation of two police officers, and the retirement of a third, the Neosho Police Department is seeking three officers.
As of last week, the Neosho Police Department is now short three officers, though their replacements will hopefully be on board sometime before Christmas, said a department official.
Sgt. Steven Douglas and Patrolman Chris Austin both saw their last official day on the Neosho police force last week, having resigned. Reputedly, Douglas will seek a career in law, while Austin, in the Army Reserve, was called into active duty and is being sent to Iraq.
The resignations came following the retirement of Sgt. Greg Sallee, who left the department last month after 20 years. Police Chief Dave McCracken said the usual advertisements have been let out in local and area newspapers for new officers.
However, he said the main focus of the search has centered on the police academy at Missouri Southern State University, as the department tries to recruit new blood.
McCracken agreed it’s sometimes easier to train rookies than have to re-train veterans in the particular ins and outs of the Neosho Police Department.
“Being honest, a lot of times that’s a good way to go,” he said. “We would like to have someone with some experience and get a good mixture as well, but mostly we get people just out of the academy and this is their first job, or maybe they’ve only been with small departments for a short period of time.”
The next academy class graduates this December. McCracken said department personnel have already given presentations there, and are also testing on-site. He said at least nine academy recruits have been tested so far and that he hopes to have new officers on the shift schedule by Christmas. Until then, Neosho patrolmen are rearranging shifts and working extra hours, McCracken said.
The department typically operates on shift teams of seven officers. Sometimes, due to days off or vacations, there isn’t a full squad, though four is the targeted minimum number of on-duty officers during any given shift.
“We want to be able to cover the streets with our minimum without any problem,” McCracken said.
BY THE NUMBERS
When at full strength, the Neosho Police Department employs 26 sworn police officers, including the chief, assistant chief, two investigators and 22 patrolmen.
Neosho Daily News