Pueblo Police adding a new position to help with alleviate stress on the traffic unit
PUEBLO, Colo. (KRDO)--The Pueblo Police Department (PPD) requested to add one full-time position to provide coordination and administrative support for the abandoned vehicle program. The city passed the ordinance on final reading 7-0.
"Abandoned vehicles are a big problem in the City of Pueblo. We don't have the manpower to address the probably thousands of vehicles that are actually considered abandoned. So we generally work off of a complaint," said Michael Sincerbox, Sergeant of the Traffic Unit for the PPD.
This position will not just help with the administrative tasks of abandoned vehicles, but all cars towed by the PPD.
In 2022, 4,366 cars were towed by the PPD and 703 of those were abandoned vehicles. So far this year, 1852 cars have been towed and 266 of those were abandoned.
According to the City of Pueblo, on average, the unit processes 3,711 vehicles per year and has processed 18,556 vehicles in the last five years.
A survey of other police departments in the state was conducted seeking to identify opportunities to streamline processes and to understand how other agencies are towing vehicles, according to the Background paper given to council. All other agencies surveyed indicated that a civilian was performing the administrative tasks.
Pueblo Police said this is an opportunity to free up a police officer in the traffic unit. The reassignment would also free up patrol officers as other traffic unit resources would then be available to work crashes.
PPD said it's always searching for ways to free up existing sworn resources to serve the community, especially in light of the current staffing shortage. Sincerbox said in the 90's, the PPD had about 20 officers in the traffic unit. Now, it's down to eight, including himself.
The cost of the new position will be covered for the remainder of 2023 by salary savings and therefore no new funding is required at this time. The actual costs for 2023 will be $25,030, as it will take several months to get the position posted and through the Civil Service process to hire, according to the city.
The City of Pueblo has 10 days after an ordinance passes to have all signatures completed in order for the ordinance to go into effect. Mayor Nick Gradisar is planning on signing it Wednesday, according to the city.