The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports that, in a growing trend, small police departments are relying ever more heavily on part-time officers. At dozens of the 119 police departments in Allegheny County, Penn., hiring part-time officers often is the only affordable way to operate. But part-timers often stay only for a short time, and leave when better opportunities arise, officials say. In Rankin, for example, designated by the state as a “distressed” community, there is no option but to operate with part-time police, said Chief Ryan Wooten. But he adds that dozens of officers have left his department over the years.
“They are mostly people who grew up in this area and are straight out of the police academy,” said Wooten, who supervises 13 officers. “The only trouble is that none of them stay more than 18 months or so.” Sewickley is far from financially distressed. Yet it also has happened there, where eight officers are part time. “It kind of grew as a cost-saving measure,” said Chief Jim Ersher, who in 21 years at the department has seen hundreds of part-time officers come and go.