PACIFIC, MO (KPLR) - Pacific Police Chief Matthew Mansell hopes to soon fill two vacancies in his department. He says those police officer vacancies have been left unfilled since November, 2015. Mansell blames the Pacific mayor for blocking efforts to fill the vacancies.
The police chief could soon have his way. The city recently changed an ordinance that placed the power of recommending police hires in the hands of the mayor. The new ordinance gives the chief of police power to make the recommendations. Mansell said he has two names ready to go for the next board meeting.
Mayor Jeffrey Palmore said he was unavailable to comment about the staffing situation other than to say he has researched budgets dating back several years, and does not believe there is sufficient data to support hiring the officers.
Mansell and Board President Mike Pigg disagree. They believe an increase in murders and heroin use in Pacific are two reasons to approve the hires as soon as possible.
In addition to the vacancies Mansell said two officers are on medical leave, a third officer is on emergency family leave and another officer is retiring at the end of the month.
He said the staffing situation has left him unable to leave a full time officer at the public high school or at the public middle school. He said the officers who were assigned full time at those schools will now respond to the schools when they are not out on other calls.
Pigg said the board supports the chief’s efforts to make the hires, and hopes the hires are made soon.
“He knows what his job is,” said Pigg. “Let the man do it.”