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Tucson Police Officer Association asks mayor and council for swift action on staffing shortage

Posted at 8:27 PM, Feb 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-18 22:27:55-05

TUCSON, Ariz. — The Tucson Police Officer's Association is asking the city for help addressing a major staffing shortage.

It's been an ongoing problem for the department, according to the union.

The hard numbers from the Tucson Police Department show they've got about 800 officers employed. TPOA said the department needs 1,000 officers to function properly.

Both the TPD and the union said their high attrition rate is the issue. Officers are leaving the department faster than they're coming in.

TPOA told KGUN 9 it all came down to an issue of pay. They said officers are leaving Tucson for higher paying jobs in surrounding agencies.

One leader of the union is asking the City of Tucson to address the problem immediately.

"There are no band-aid solutions here and the city manager has said that as well. Not just for us but for all city employees compensation and making sure Tucson is competitive to hire the best is something that has to be looked at consistently. Year round," Sergeant Jason Winsky said.

A spokesperson for TPD said the department runs three academies a year. The first academy of 2021 includes 17 recruits, but he said more than 17 officers will already have left by the time those graduate the academy.

Sergeant Winsky said the solution is for Mayor and Council to budget for pay raises for officers.