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Government

Rock Island Police are Understaffed

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Rock Island Police Department
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Rock Island Police Badge and Patch

The Rock Island Police Department has a shortage of officers. The city's been understaffed for the past year, since probationary officers withdrew or failed the police academy in 2019, and weren't able to replace retiring officers. Then, COVID-19 shut down the police academy. 

Police Chief Jeff VenHuizen says the academy's next class won't graduate until January. 

"The process for hiring police officers is not simple. You obviously do not hire a police officer, and then they go on the street the next day. From the time we hire them, to the time they're out on solo patrol takes about nine months," he said. "When we lose a position, it takes us at least nine months to replace that position."

RIPD is now down six officers, and two more are retiring soon. That's why the department won't be able to send any resource officers to Rock Island schools this year.

VenHuizen is currently conducting background checks for 30 applicants. 
 

Marianna Bacallao is WVIK Quad Cities NPR's 2020-2021 Fellowship Host/Reporter. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Mercer University's Center for Collaborative Journalism and served as Editor-in-Chief for the student newspaper, The Cluster.