BAINBRIDGE, Ga. (WTXL) -- Bainbridge Public Safety is looking into several options to keep officers on the force.
The department is working with a small staff and a quick turnover rate.
The Bainbridge Police Chief addressed these issues with the city council at a recent retreat with the goal of retaining its officers that perform both police and fire duties.
"It's not a glamorous job," said Frank Green, deputy director at Bainbridge Public Safety. "It's not an easy job, you know. It takes a lot out of you."
It might be burnout, but Bainbridge Public Safety needs enough officers to serve the community.
"In the last two years, we've hired 12 officers, and right now, we're 7 officers short," said Green.
Green says it's critical not to be understaffed.
"...which affects the call, as far as the productivity and responding to calls -- having the manpower to do the job."
Right now, officers are averaging a little more than two years on the force. They make just over 14 dollars and 50 cents an hour, but despite that rate, the Deputy Director says some of them have left to pursue higher-paying jobs.
"...when they were offered a dollar and a half more an hour to be a security officer in a hospital, which is tough on us, because we trained them and put all the money and time and effort into them," said Green.
It's training for both police and fire duties, a dual responsibility.
"We generally spend a minimum of 10 to 12 months training them before they're ever on their own," Green said.
Green says higher salaries could keep officers here. He's pushing for nearly two dollars more per hour.
"They're consistent with the general areas, but they're not consistent when you add the additional duties and additional training and responsibilities that we put on them," Green explained.
He also favors a take-home vehicle program and hiring fire-only employees strong options to build a veteran force.
"The longer they're doing the job, the better they are at their decision-making and the better they serve their community," said Green.
Bainbridge Public Safety continues advertising its search for qualified applicants. You must meet state standards for both police and fire training.