Montgomery Police Refuse To Disclose Staffing Level


Last year, the Montgomery, Al., police department lost 57 officers: 39 resigned, 15 retired, two were dismissed, and one died in a shooting incident, says the Montgomery Advertiser. Some spots will be filled with 46 new hires, but the department refuses to release information on how many officers it needs to fill the gaps in its staff. The department has 510 officers on its budget; last year, it said it was about 80 officers short of that goal. Officials will not divulge exact staffing numbers. Said Mayor Bobby Bright: “When they (criminals) think we’re at our weakest and most vulnerable time, that’s when they start planning their strategy.”

The Advertiser filed a Freedom of Information Act request Friday with the mayor’s office. Craig Fraser of the Police Executive Research Forum in Washington, D.C., said the refusal to release the number is not a typical practice of municipal police departments. “Usually that’s a matter of public record,” he said. A police spokesman said releasing the number of officers in the department is akin to giving away troop movements in a war. “If you think about it, the police department is a quasi-military organization,” said Capt. Huey Thornton. (The FBI Web site says the Montgomery department reported having 463 officers in 2005.)


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