LA VERGNE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A Mid-State police department is prioritizing calls from most to least important mainly because of the increasing number of calls for service.
La Vergne police are working non-stop and on most days, trying to keep up with the number of calls they are dispatched on.
There are not enough officers to keep up with increasing crime.
La Vergne police officer Seneca Shields barely had time to get to roll-call Thursday morning.
“Just got into the station, and haven’t even sat down in my chair, and it started off with a domestic assault,” Shields said.
On a typical day, he and other officers are responding to call after call.
“They keep hands full all the time, especially the second shift,” Shields said.
That’s from 9 p.m. to Midnight.
La Vergne police have seen their call volume increase by 38 percent from the same time last year.
“When you attempt to cover the patrol zones, and be in the neighborhoods, it’s very difficult to have enough personnel on the shift to cover everything in the city,” La Vergne police Chief Mike Walker said.
Because of the shortage of officers, the chief said the department has to prioritize calls.
“Naturally a robbery, a burglary in progress, home invasion, shots fired, domestic violence, those types of calls are top priority and we respond to those first,” Walker said. “Many times, we have to pull every officer we have to one particular call depending on the nature of that call.”
Walker said residents should rest assured they are safe.
“There may be a perceived safety concern, however, when you look at the type of crimes that are being committed, for example the domestic violence,” the Chief said. “That means that’s a domestic member leaving in that same household where that is occurring, and when you consider 56 percent crimes against persons are domestic violence, there is not enough we can do about that.”
The population of La Vergne is well over 34,000 and with growth comes more crime and the need for more officers.
“My wish would be to have enough personnel that we would have a minimum each day on the average eight patrol officers working the city and that include the midnight shift,” Walker said.
La Vergne police recently swore in four additional officers, but still need more.
Right now most officers are working 10 hour shifts that overlap to help fill the void.