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Colorado Springs Police Chief: department facing officer shortage

Colorado Springs Police Department

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO)-- The Colorado Springs Police is facing a shortage, according to Chief Vince Niski.

CSPD just wrapped up applications for new officers, and in an appearance on KRDO NewsRadio Monday, Chief Niski said the department had fewer applicants this year than they usually would.

"We’re a little concerned because normally at the end of a process, an application process, we’d have about 1,200-1,300 applicants," Niski said. "This last week when it closed, we had about 851."

According to Niski, at full strength, CSPD has 786 officers. Right now, they are down to 704. Niski says CSPD hopes to fill a class of 72 officers next April.

With a city growing at the pace of Colorado Springs, he says CSPD needs a growing number of officers. Niski says he's worried that this could impact the service CSPD can do in the community.

"What we don’t want to do is short the citizen, by not doing an in-depth investigation every time we get called. So I just ask the community to understand when it takes an officer a little longer to get there, it’s not the officer's fault, it’s kind of the organization’s fault for not having the number of officers we need to fully serve the community."

However, numbers as recent as 2019, from the University of Colorado Colorado Springs, show that an increasing number of UCCS students declared criminal justice as a major.

One of Niski's theories could explain the shift in people applying to be a patrol officer.

"I think some of the social unrest last year probably played a little bit of a role in people that may have wanted to join law enforcement last year are a little hesitant this year."

Still, Niski thinks this is going to turn around. He hopes people will realize Colorado Springs is a good place for a police officer to serve.

"When people realize how much support law enforcement has from the Colorado Springs and El Paso County communities, they'll see that it's different than if you live in other parts of the country."

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Spencer Soicher

Spencer is the weekend evening anchor, and a reporter for KRDO. Learn more about him here.

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