Excessive Heat Warnings

Metro Police and Fire Departments Facing Staffing Shortages

DES MOINES, Iowa  --  While police departments vow to keep the public safe, agencies across the country are struggling to recruit those who are willing to serve.

Two of the metro's largest departments--Des Moines and West Des Moines--have already posted their helped wanted signs. In Des Moines, though, staffing is critically low.

"We're running about 23 officers short of what our authorized strength is. When you look at that in the perspective of police on the street, that's about a third of an entire patrol watch. Obviously those positions would be distributed throughout the department," said Sergeant Parizek.

The department says the quality of service has not been affected by the shortage, despite the prediction of a handful of officers retiring. Last year, three officers were killed in the line of duty. Two others recently resigned amid allegations of planting evidence.

Sgt. Parizek says while recruiting classes at the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy have remained steady, finding the right person for the job is what makes filling the position difficult.

"We were authorized to hire somewhere in the range of 20 people, maybe a little bit more for the class that we have going right now. When we came out of the application process we really only found 18 that met the standard that we wanted and having the diversified group that we wanted," said Parizek.

The police departments are not the only ones looking for help; fire departments in both Des Moines and West Des Moines are also hiring.

Fore more information on job openings, visit the City of Des Moines and City of West Des Moines job postings websites.