MANDAN, N.D. - Staffing in the Mandan Police Department could be at a critical level. The department says it's seven officers short.
Deputy Chief Lori Flaten says many officers leave because of lower pay and benefits.
Mandan pays its officers a starting salary between $43,0000 and $50,000, depending on experience.
Across the river in Bismarck, the starting salary for officers is between $48,000 and $54,000.
The police department says it's working hard with the city to make changes.
There are 29 officers in the department and one in training, but they should have 37 officers.
Police officers play an instrumental role in the lives of people across the nation.
But, what happens to a department when they're a few officers short?
"It makes it really difficult on some days. During day shifts, if we have two, or maybe three officers on, because we're shorthanded, we could be going from call to call with very little time in between," said Mandan Police Officer Bruce Tessness.
Flaten says officers go from Mandan PD to the one in Bismarck.
"Historically Bismarck Police Department has always gotten a number of our officers, I mean, that has never changed. I don't think it ever will," said Flaten.
She says they haven't gotten a lot of applicants because of the low starting salary and benefits.
"I'm hoping now working with the city here. I'm hoping in the near future, we're gonna be getting that fixed," said Flaten.
She says family health insurance for an officer could cost around $900 a month.
Flaten says if Mandan can get closer to Bismarck's starting salary and benefits, it will be able to compete.
They aim to make changes soon.