Maintaining sufficient police patrols in Lexington can require some creative scheduling. Lexington Police Chief Ronnie Bastin says his department has just over 500 officers with 25 more joining the force this fall. Still, the chief is shorthanded because he’s struggling to replace retirees. He lost about a dozen officers last December and expects to lose another 24 this year. Bastin has coped by putting some officers, who’ve worked with specialized units, back on patrol. He says it’s important to maintain consistency on the streets.
“If it looks like we’re going to be below that number for a sustainable period of time..then we look at movements from other places within the police department.. to cover those because patrol has to be our first priority,” said Bastin.
The trend worries Urban County Council member Peggy Henson.
“Many citizens have expressed a very very a fear that we don’t have enough officers for our city,” said Henson.
To Council member Jay McChord, it means Lexington should set some minimum staffing numbers for its police force.
“What is the policy of this government gonna be as far as minimum staffing levels…what are we actually gonna say this is the bottom line number…we won’t go below this no matter what..we don’t have that so we continue to go down,” added McChord.
McChord also says they might want to accelerate the training process for police officers.