JOPLIN, Mo. — The City of Joplin is considering options to retain and attract police officers. City Council held a work session to review a Joplin Police Department allocation study. It discussed ways to change shift scheduling and get the most out of the officers the department has.

“These studies help improve our services and so having a look at our police department and the resources they need gives us the data we need to move forward,” Nick Edwards, City Manager.

Monday night City Council heard a police department allocation study from a consulting firm out of Arkansas.

“They are certainly short staffed for the amount of work that they have and the amount of proactive enforcement they should be seeing. There’s a very high turnover rate. I cant tell exactly what the cause is but I know the workload is high. The concern is getting more officers or reduce the workload or find some way to make the job more satisfactory,” said Tim Freesmeyer, President of Etico Solutions Inc.

He went through short and long term recommendations to take the burden off of police officers.

“Short term recommendations could be for optimizing the beats so we equalize the workload among officers. Could be changing the schedule a little bit to make it a more family-friendly schedule. Something that provides a better quality of life for the officers. It gives everybody a guaranteed weekend off every other weekend,” said Freesmeyer.

Right now the Department has 36 police officers and 27 of those are on patrol.

“They really need to reach 62 officers on the patrol division so they can keep 52 or 53 fully trained. Right now they have 36 calltakers so they have 10 in training,” added Freesmeyer.

Now the City Manager will work with the police chief to come up with a solution.

“One of the things I’ve heard a lot from citizens is they want to see better public safety, more resources for public safety. They recognize the importance of having a safe community,” said Edwards. “The study was a good look in the mirror about ourselves and about the services we provide. I think it will provide a good foundation for us.”

Etico Solutions also recommended the Department go to a digital timesheet system. The City Manager will present options to bolster the Department to City Council next Monday.