Chief Mitchell on department staffing, plans to focus on patrol - FOX34 Lubbock

Chief Mitchell on department staffing, plans to focus on patrol

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

2019 was a tough year for the Lubbock Police Department Chief Mitchell says. 

Arrests went down and fewer emergencies calls were dispatched within two minutes. Only 79% of those "priority one" calls hit that metric. The target is nine out of 10. 

Chief Mitchell said the change in July from 12 to 10 hour shifts and staffing are big contributors to that. There are dozens of recruits signed up and in the training pipeline, but Chief Mitchell reported there will be 24 police vacancies on Friday. 

In order to compensate, Chief Mitchell says he plans to put more emphasis on patrol rather than special projects and keep other departments or agencies from being understaffed. 

"It's having those hard conversations with our outside agencies and with the folks inside to say 'you're gonna have to run lean until we get patrol up because I can't go down from 85% to 79% on response time and think it's going to be OK with my council, my city manager, and my staff," Chief Mitchell said. 

Chief Mitchell said the substation plan will help reduce call times when it's implemented. He said another way to help is recruiting more dispatchers and improving the work environment, both of which are in progress.

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