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City of Syracuse working to address shortage of police officers

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Tom Magnarelli
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WRVO Public Media File Photo

Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh says the city is hiring police officers as fast as it can. The city is ramping up recruitment efforts as the police force continues to be undermanned, with one community in particular, issuing a call for help.

The staffing shortage at the Syracuse Police Department continues, with the force down about 50 officers. The department is trying to drum up interest in an April Civil Service exam with information sessions across the city. One of those meetings was held at The Islamic Society of Central New York, as that community is pushing for better policing following a murder and increase in other violence against their businesses.

"We certainly saw it as an opportunity to not only strengthen our relationship with the Muslim community, but also try to change the face of what the Syracuse Police Department looks like,” said Police Chief Kenton Buckner. “We truly strive to be reflective of the community that we serve. It’s important that we do that."

Islamic leaders and businesses owners are calling for more cops on the street in their neighborhoods among other things. Walsh admits that’s difficult with the current staffing shortage.

"Hiring new officers takes time. So for those asking for officers right now, it’s a process,” Walsh said. “We are literally hiring officers as fast as we can. We are deploying officers where they’re most needed, and we’ll continue to do that."

This staffing shortage comes as burglaries and larcenies in Syracuse are also increasing.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.