The Lynnwood Police Guild says there aren’t enough cops on the street. The mayor says there’s just isn’t the money to hire any more.
The mayor is proposing to leave seven open police officer positions vacant, citing a new $3.5 million budget shortfall. But the union representing police officers says those positions are already funded in the current budget.
The union filed a grievance this past summer and the matter is now headed for arbitration. They say low officer staffing levels are putting them and the public at risk. Some days, only a few officers are on duty.
“Suffice it to say, I’ve been here over twenty-some years — we’re at staffing levels that pre-date that,” Deputy Chief Bryan Stanifer said in July.
The 2011-12 budget calls for 71 officers. Since it was passed last year, at least seven officers have left for other departments. As the City Council starts to debate budget amendments, the mayor’s proposal aims to leave those seven positions unfilled.
The arbitrator’s decision will be final and binding. No hearing date has been set.