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Short on staff, Conway police chief asks council to reallocate funds

(WPDE)

Today, the Conway Police Department has 50 police officers. That number is less than the department employed in 2000.

With several officers leaving in the last few months, including a few that left for better pay in other departments, Chief Reggie Gosnell is trying to find ways to attract new recruits and keep the staff he currently has.

"You get so far behind the curve that it does affect the quality of service that you would otherwise be providing," Gosnell said.

An ABC15 special report found that Conway once had one officer for every 200 residents at the turn of the century. Today, the city employs one officer for every 450 residents.

Gosnell is proposing to raise his officers' pay across the board by $2,500 and add a $1,500 signing bonus for certified police officers. He's also proposing to shorten the period of time needed before an officer can move to the next rank and pay grade.

Currently, a brand new patrol officer would make $37,821.

Gosnell estimates that his proposals will cost at least $85,000 in the first six months, which he and Interim City Administrator Adam Emrick said can come from the department's approved personnel budget.

Conway City Council would need to approve any changes, which one council member said could happen at the March budget retreat.

"I want to make them aware and be mindful that we need to really focus on keeping the police department staffed, because that's the primary department in the city," Gosnell explained.

You can check out the break down of the costs below:


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