Crime is up in Hamden but the number of police officers has remained fairly steady over the past decade. Now, the police chief is asking the city for more.
"It's been difficult for us to continue to deliver the service that is expected to our public with the numbers that we currently have," said Chief Thomas Wydra of the Hamden Police Department.
In response to his request for additional manpower, Chief Wydra says the city's legislative council is expected to provide funding for one more officer when the 2014-2015 budget is finalized in May.
"I am grateful to Mayor Jackson and to the legislative council for understanding and acknowledging our needs," said Chief Wydra.
But he's also planning to push for more officers in the future, based on an analysis of data going back 50 years. According to those numbers, Hamden officers responded to an average of 521 service calls each in 2013. That compares to just 42 service calls per officer back in 1962. The chief also says staffing levels in his department are lower than similar sized cities.
"When you consider the service calls last year verses the service calls over our history, they have grown dramatically yet our sworn staff has grown in only a very mild way," said Chief Wydra.
The Hamden police department now has 107 sworn officers. Based on crime rates, the chief says he'd like to see that number climb to between 120 and 125 over the next 5-10 years.