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Fargo Police Short on Patrol Officers - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Fargo Police Short on Patrol Officers

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The crime stats the Fargo Police Department released today brought up a few conversation points over what the force is doing to keep the city safe.

Officers say one way to do that is by simply hiring more people.

According to Keith Ternes, Police Chief, the department just doesn't have enough officers.

That's part of the reason why the latest crime stats show dispatch calls were up by 8.5%, but arrests were down.

Ternes says the force is slightly understaffed.

The Fargo Police Department has 145 sworn officers, but that doesn't mean 145 officers available to patrol streets. That number includes administrative and investigative staff.

"When it's all said and done, we really only have in the neighborhood of 90 to 95 uniformed police officers that are assigned to the patrol function," Ternes said.

And because of factors including retirement and injury, their patrol force was about 15 officers slimmer at times last year.

"When you're talking about 90 officers total, you take away 15 of those and that's quite a dip in resources in that area," Joel Vettel, police lieutenant, said.

Vettel says they're compensating the issue by redirecting officers focused in other parts of the city, but that it's "not always a bad thing."

He says it makes the force more efficient.

Chief Ternes says they'll need to hire at least five more officers. He says 150 officers would appropriately police the city. Then, the department can be proactive as Fargo grows.

But, for right now, the department agrees it has enough resources to keep citizens safe.

"At no time do we feel that public safety was at risk, we feel just the opposite, we had a great year," Vettel said.

The department recently hired a crime analyst that will help as it looks to hire more officers so they can plan ahead where the greatest need is to distribute those resources.

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