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Debate over police hiring emerges in Anderson

ANDERSON, Ind.-- An Anderson city councilman says his city needs to do more when it comes to hiring police officers. He’s hoping a change happens quickly before it becomes a public safety issue.

Councilman Jon Bell says recently, the number of officers has slid in Anderson due to issues such as military leave and officers leaving for another job. According to Bell, the city’s current roster of officers is at 95, which is too low considering the ideal number, is around 110.

“And so we’re just at a tough place right now as a community but I think we’re going to get through it,” Bell said.

Bell says the low number of officers means two things: there’s not enough man power out on the street, and the ones who are on the street are being over worked.

“The indication is that hey we’re getting tired. We’re losing times with our families, we’re stressed to the point where doing a good job is more difficult,” he said.

However, there seems to be some disagreement to the number of officers the city currently employs.

According Mayor Tom Broderick, Anderson police currently has 104 officers. Broderick also maintains that the recent hiring of four new officers, and a plan to open up another hiring round later this year, will more than satisfy the city’s needs.

Bell, who is a former officer himself, is not convinced.  Over the years Bell says the number of officers working has steadily declined. Earlier this week there was also a budget proposal that suggested the amount of officers the city would be budgeted to hire would shrink from 112 to 110. Now bell says he’s just trying to make sure that the trend of a shrinking police force stops before it becomes a public safety issue.

 “We can’t skimp the public safety i believe that is our first responsibility as a local government is to provide public safety,” he said.