On Tuesday, March 5th, the decision was made to cancel both sessions of the 2019 Junior Police Academy (JPA). The Kingman Police Department (KPD) has held two JPAs every year for the past 13 years. That is a total of 26 academy sessions that have impacted almost 650 students. This year would have been the 14th year. The decision to cancel this year’s program was not made easily and is due to current and on-going staffing shortages. Additional resignations are anticipated over the next few months. The School Resource Officers (SRO), who would normally organize and oversee the academy during the 8 week summer school break, will be temporarily re-assigned to uniform patrol duties.
KPD’s current SRO program consists of one sergeant and five officer positions. Two of the five positions are unfilled, leaving three officers and a sergeant to cover the schools in Kingman. The Kingman Unified School District and Kingman Academy of Learning are aware and have been involved in the decision making process specific to the impact on both school districts.
Consideration is being given to additional service adjustments department wide. KPD has been communicating with community partners regarding the staffing shortages and potential impact on services provided.
For the safety of the community and the safety of our officers the Kingman Police Department is committed to providing no less than a minimum amount of uniformed officers on duty at any given time. To meet this commitment and fill an immediate need for staffing in the uniformed patrol bureau we must pull officers from other areas of service.
Already, we have not replaced vacancies in the detective bureau, SRO team, traffic squad and gang enforcement task force. We currently have four new officers in field training and one recruit officer in the academy.
On a national level agencies are faced with a dwindling pool ofqualified applicants, which we are experiencing locally. Many apply, fewer are invited to test and even fewer are able to successfully get through the rigorous background process. Those that do get accepted and hired are often recruited and wooed away by other agencies that can pay a higher wage. Many times it is a neighboring agency that is doing the recruiting and wooing. Certified law enforcement officers have become a hot commodity.
In the meantime we are evaluating our priorities of service and making plans to continue to provide efficient police services to the City of Kingman and its residents to further our mission. It is the mission of the Kingman Police Department to maintain a high quality of life for our residents and visitors, through an active partnership with the community, by being proactive in reducing crime, apprehending criminal offenders, and aggressively addressing all public safety concerns.