Record reporter Mark Robarge has a story on the Troy Police staffing shortage. The crux of the story is that the average height of a Troy police officer has declined over the past four years from 5' 10" to 5'8.5". We'd link to the story but the article requires payment and unlike Hugh Grant, we don't have to pay for it. No offense to Robarge, who appears to be a solid reporter, compared to what the Record has had the past few years.
In the article, Police Chief Tedesco worries about staffing and morale in the police department. Even with the recent hiring of ten new officers (three with experience) another 6 vacancies are expected by the end of the year. Tedesco believes the low morale and staffing shortage, something he sees as connected, is at least partly the result of the shooting of two officers this Summer as well as working without a contract since 2012. That may be. Although, the shootings, in our opinion, showed the Troy Police at their best in terms of unity, professionalism and morale.
The morale problem did not begin this year, or last year or three years ago. Everyone knows the root cause of the morale problem and 87.4% of officers will tell you, off the record. Many problems started when Tedesco became too cozy with Mayor Tutunjian. The chief was back and forth to City Hall (then at the Verizon Building) so often he wore a rut in 6th Ave. He thrust himself into partisan politics in a public manner like no other recent chief.
This explains the overwhelming support given to Rosamilia and Madden by rank-and-file police officers. It's not because your average police officer is a flaming liberal, running around with Bernie Sanders signs. It because they knew that a Mayor Mantello or a Mayor Gordon was much more likely to give Tedesco free reign down at the station. When a man has IA (hereinafter IA) investigate a facebook post, that's not someone who should have free reign. To be fair, Tedesco gets high marks for his performance in the wake of the shootings.
Does all of this explain the shortage? Perhaps. However, it does not explain the nationwide shortage one finds with a little research. The country is suffering from a police staffing problem: California, Tennessee, DC, Portland, Oregon, San Antonio, Richmond... An internet search found this to be a nationwide problem, much to our surprise (FYI, do not search 'short-staffed cops' unless your kids are out of the room. 'Jobs for cops' and 'Cop Job'also produces interesting results).
Our police officers deserve a new contract. If anyone needed proof, last year showed that yes, police work is actually dangerous. But more needs to be done.
In addition to a new contract, The Troy Polloi suggests the following to help recruit and keep officers.
Purchase a few of these:
And a few of these:
Way cool. We also suggest a special Crossbow Unit. Trust us. Who wouldn't stay?
The Chief also believes that some officers chafe under the seniority system found in many departments. However, many of those leaving are not going to non-seniority departments and will be starting at the bottom.
There have been rumors swirling around the department for months about the investigation into Domestigate. The end of this month was supposed to "blow the roof" off of Police HQ. Now its been pushed back once again. The problem with the investigation is that no one inside Troy PD should be investigating the 911 leak at all. Whatever evidence that was initially gathered should have been sent off to the State Police, or FBI or someone other than IA. This places the department in a lose-lose situation, no matter the outcome.
Then there was the end of the story. Very cryptic. Could Tedesco be bowing out this Spring, when he reaches the magical 62?
As for the City Council and the police, no word on when the 5-Point Plan will be pursued as promised during the election.