We do not frequently ask you, the citizen, for assistance, as we are here to provide assistance, so this is not asked easily by the police department. We are at a perilous level of staffing. Tiffin Police Department is authorized 31 sworn officers and currently we have 25 sworn officers.
In 1958, city council authorized the police department to increase its manning strength to 25. Fifty-four years later, we are back at that same staffing level. I do not think anyone can disagree that we certainly have more crime, accidents, traffic-related issues, provide more services and have a larger community than we did in 1958.
It is a little-known fact in the community that the police department has not been at full strength for more than a decade now. Some years, it has been as little as just one officer short, but in recent years, it has been slowly eroding to the current state of being down six officers, with another retirement on the horizon in March for sure and three others who can retire but have not made the decision yet. It is a daily struggle to continue to provide the services and the quality of those services that you, the citizens of Tiffin, have come to expect from your police department over the years.
In 2011, even though we were down four officers at that time, we saw an increase of 16 percent in our calls for service. We increased our calls for service by 1,982 over what we had in 2010.
In 2012, even though we are now down six officers, the calls still are coming in, and we are ahead by more than 1,000 calls from where we were at this time last year. We are going to be over 14,000 calls for service. Each officer, when they are not running from call to call, is expected to go out and about and seek out crime, look for traffic violations, enforce parking and property crimes, and be visible and proactive as much as they can.
But if they do not have that extra time, due to being understaffed, then those enforcement issues are lesser priorities on the list of things to do. The first priority is answering the calls for service that come in, as that is the main role of our patrol division.
When the patrol division is understaffed, then detectives have to be pulled from the detective division to fill the void on patrol, which then becomes a struggle to handle the major crimes and drug activities that occur throughout the city. So you can begin to see the dangers of having less manpower on the PD.
With a "yes" vote for the quarter-percent increase, you will be directly assisting your local police department in regaining their authorized strength and maintaining the quality and level of services to which you have become accustomed. This also will allow our department to have the manpower to once again be more proactive instead of slipping into the reactive type of policing that is happening because of manpower issues, through no fault of the officers who want to do more.
For more than a decade, your police department has been quietly doing more with less, and even today I still get stunned looks from citizens who think we are at and have been at full strength all this time. We, the officers and employees of the Tiffin Police Department, humbly request your assistance in voting "yes" to the quarter-percent increase so we can do even more for our community.
No matter what happens, please rest assured the men and women of the Tiffin Police Department will continue to strive to provide the very best services that we can, day in and day out.
Fredrick W. Stevens,