RPD short over 70 officers, heading into summer

[anvplayer video=”5171092″ station=”998131″]

ROCHESTER, N.Y. It’s been eight months since the City of Rochester enacted a state of emergency due to gun violence.

Mayor Malik Evans said on Tuesday that homicide numbers are down. There have been 10 homicides this year to date, compared to last year with 17 homicides to date. The number of shooting victims is half what it was a year ago.

But officials said they’re concerned as we head toward warmer months.

RPD Chief David Smith said incidents of gun violence may be down, but the current staffing shortages are weighing on officers. In addition, he said calls tend to increase when warmer weather hits.

“It comes at a cost, not only a financial cost but a cost on the police department, an impact on their families, their lifestyle,” said Smith. “We have to worry about getting everyone through the summer healthy, and at the same time, we have a lot of responsibilities we need to take care of. So a major undertaking lies ahead.”

News10NBC’S Eriketa Cost spoke to Smith off-camera following a press conference on public safety to learn more.

Smith said there are conversations to reevaluate how they use their staff in a day’s work. But he said there are no plans for a full reorganization, like in 2015.

Mayor Evans said he’s working with the department to find ways to recruit and retain new members.

“And we’ll continue to look innovatively to see how we can increase the number of people who are interested in the profession,” said Evans. “As people retire, you bring people in, how can you attract people?”

In the meantime, Smith said the department will be participating in a state-funded pilot program to investigate nonfatal shootings.

“This will involve teams made up of investigators and assistant district attorneys,” he said.

The program has had success in Utica and Schenectady, according to Smith.