Newark Police Department struggles with staffing shortage

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NEWARK, N.Y. — Staff injuries and retirements are causing a major shortage of police officers in one Wayne County village. Newark police staffing is down 42 percent, forcing officers to do more with less.

Due to public safety concerns, the Newark Police Department is tight-lipped on the number of officers it has on staff, but the chief is trying to get creative with staffing.

“We’re in unprecedented times, and we really need to think outside the box on how we move forward together and to continue to provide the public safety that we need, require and want in the Village of Newark,” said Mayor Johnathan Taylor.

That’s true whether it’s a big city like Rochester or a small village like Newark.

“A lot of these officers get to the end of their shift and are told nope, you don’t get to go home. You’re staying,” said Rochester Police Chief David Smith.

“Out of the officers and sergeants we normally would have for patrol coverage, 42 percent of them right now are not available due to injuries and vacancies right now,” said Newark Police Chief Rich Martin.

Both municipalities have the same problem, a shortage of police officers. Martin says his department has made some changes after most of his officers were working 16-hour shifts every day.

“We realigned some shifts; that provides us with some period of overlapping coverage, which reduces the amount of overtime,” said Martin.

Newark Police are getting help from Wayne County Sheriff Rob Milby.

“He assured me that his deputies could cover, kind of pick up the slack where we’re not able to cover at this point,” said Martin.

He goes on to say his department will not disband and have the sheriff take over. Martin predicts the shortage is temporary. Right now, he has one recruit training at the academy, and is planning to add some part-time officers to his department.

“There’s no reason to think about throwing in the towel at this point, and I know I can speak for the mayor and the Village Board that they are of the same mindset, and fully supportive of the police department and making sure that we still have an outstanding department in the Village of Newark,” said Martin.

Residents we talked to say they still feel safe in the village despite the shortage of police.

“We lock our doors like average citizens, but I feel just fine walking on the street any time of day,” said one resident.

Paul Murphy added, “Yes, I do feel safe because I know the sheriffs are backing, the state police are backing them up. I always felt safe, and I like the quick response time when we have the local police.”

The head of Newark Police is encouraging anyone interested in a law enforcement career to take the next civil service exam coming in September. Click on this link below to learn more about the test.