Growing Need for Emergency Personnel | VideoAmy Fox | 8/31/2012
"All of the city departments have had problems keeping staff and I think that`s common in businesses in Minot in general," said Minot Police Chief Jason Olson.
With more people moving to Minot, emergency personnel are having trouble keeping up with the rapid growth.
“We have 58 officers that are trained up and are working right now and we`re authorized for 65 officers,” said Olson. “So, we`re below a little over 10 percent right there."
Fewer employees mean the Police Department has to prioritize.
Olson said, "We have not been able to match that increase in officers on the street. And, so, we have had areas suffer like traffic enforcement just general enforcement of crimes where we`re proactive, but we`ve become reactive to crimes."
The Minot Police Department isn`t alone. The Minot Fire Department is also having problems.
“Normally when someone started at the fire department, in years past, it was a career job, they stay here through retirement,” said Minot Fire Chief CJ Craven. “It`s become a very difficult time for us to retain our people."
Those like former police officer Troy Leavitt tried to help fill one of those vacancies, but the job didn`t offer enough money to support his family.
“You start out at $18, but by the time everything comes out, you`re making 12 something an hour and you get two kids, you can`t afford it. Especially with rent and everything sky rocketing."
As the city gets bigger, the need for emergency personnel will continue to grow until officers are compensated with higher wages.
Chief Olson says Minot police officers are making about 10-15 percent less than officers in Williston. Olson hopes the city will allocate more money to emergency personnel in 2013.