Police work can be very time consuming, and the Abilene Police are finding options to help save hours and man-power. "We started hiring back officers back mainly out of necessity," says Asst. Chief Ken Merchant. The idea, he explains, is to cover more with less.
"Within about the same budget constraints, for the same amount of money, is to be able to operate like we have more people."
One advantage, he readily points out, is it's nice to hire back people they already know. "We know what their training is, we know what to expect from them, so we don't have to provide any additional training, and we're not gambling on the quality of people that we hire." He adds that APD also benefits from their experience, and can really save time for on-duty officers. "When an officer goes out to a burglary at a house, the information gathering part of that takes 30 minutes. But, when you have to start fingerprinting the crime scene, taking photographs, maybe trying to lift a footprint, and gathering evidence; you start taking a half-hour call and making it a three to four hour call."
Already APD has hired back a number of retired officers to work in different areas, and they're looking to continue to expand the roles retirees fill. "If we could get a total of about 20 retirees working, that would substantially impact our staffing."
Plus, Asst. Chief Merchant says, it's been a big help for the retirees by giving them a way to continue to contribute to APD and help them face rising costs.