New Haven PD understaffed by nearly 100 officers, overtime budget suffering

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) - The Elm City is facing a significant shortage of police officers.  New Haven's Mayor telling News 8's the problem is urgent and needs to be addressed immediately.  

"We're down 100 officers and by January, we could be down 30 more," Mayor Harp said.  

New Haven is budgeted for 500 officers on the force, but the city only has about 400 right now.  The department's overtime bill is also rising. 

Mayor Harp says the city spends about $65,000 to train a single officer, but the reality is many leave after a few years to work in the suburbs.  After 20-25 years, they often retire.  Officers who retire young often re-enter the force, but in New Haven they can't do that without starting from square one, going through the academy and months of training. The Mayor is proposing to change the policy and create new jobs. 

"These are seasoned police officers and we'd like to have a lateral police officer job description," Mayor Harp added.  "So if you are retiring from another place in or outside of Connecticut,  you can come in, take a test and be eligible to serve on the police force." 

Retired officers potentially working in New Haven would create a buffer for the short-staffed department and would reduce the overtime bill in the city. 

Some neighbors say they're completely on board with the city's proposal to bring the number of officers serving the city back to where it needs to be. 

"I'm all for bringing back people from retirement to fill the gap to where needed," Scott Bell told News 8.  

"If they're down 100 officers and they really need officers, then they should bring back retired officers," Tyrell Gore added.  


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