Sunnyside Police Say They're Understaffed and Looking for Change - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Sunnyside Police Say They're Understaffed and Looking for Changes in the 2016 Budget

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SUNNYSIDE, WA.- Sunnyside Police say they're understaffed and they need more manpower to meet the demands of the city.

The Sunnyside Police Department currently has 29 officers, but they're budgeted to have 31. While two more officers doesn't sound like a large number Police Chief Al Escalera told us the shortage has put a strain on the department.  

He says their response times are lacking because they aren't able to put enough men out on the streets.  

"You know if you're working a burglary and you end up catching this burglar and then all of the things that are tied to that become very complex and you can be tied up on that case for a matter of days sometimes," Chief Escalera explained.


During the city's budget meeting last week they asked the department how they can also drastically reduce the overtime budget.


The 2015 overtime budget for the police department will end up being between 225,000 to 250,000 dollars.


Chief Escalera told me that he sees two options, they either hire 4 additional officers, cut overtime hours, and leave the budget where it's at or increase the overtime budget for the 2016 year. That way they can afford to pay their current officers overtime and only hire two additional officers.  


However he told me the city will need to discuss this before making any decisions. However even when a decision is made, on average a new officer isn't accepted on to the force until they complete at least 5 to 6 months of police training.