Chief Allen Wants Hundreds More Officers On Force
POSTED: Tuesday, December 14, 2010 - 1:28pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, December 15, 2010 - 1:34am
EL PASO - Crime in El Paso will go up if 300 to 400 more officers aren't hired by the city's police department.
That's the warning issued today by El Paso Police Chief Greg Allen. He made the announcement at the first of several monthly press briefings he said are the idea of City Manager Joyce Wilson.
He began the meeting by saying El Paso's recent ranking as the safest city in America could be in jeopardy.
"When you're on top there is only one direction to go and that's down," said Allen.
Allen said he needs to add 300 to 400 hundred more officers to the force. That's about a 40% increase.
"I'm just pushing for what I think we need. If I didn't do this I think I would be irresponsible in my duty as Chief of Police."
Allen said robberies are on the rise in the Pebble Hills region. El Paso leads the state of Texas in pedestrian fatalities on the roads. The department is also having a hard time keeping up with the volume of calls it's getting on a daily basis as the city's population grows.
"We do not have the staffing number to maintain policing at the adequate levels it should be."
And the main reason, according to Allen, is there's not enough money.
He estimates it could cost up to $50 million to pay for the new officers over the next few years. He says the city and taxpayers need to back him up and boost the department's budget.
"Until the city steps up and starts supporting us in a manner that's more efficient things are going to start getting bad."
Allen says it's a long term goal, putting hundreds of additional officers on the streets, but one he wants the city to act on now.
"I'm tired of playing the game and painting the picture that everything is under control," said Allen.