Springfield PD lobby and phone hours change due to staffing shortage

Published: Mar. 14, 2022 at 6:46 AM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Staffing shortages continue to impact the Springfield Police Department. For months, the department has been working to recruit more officers -- currently, the department is down by 50. Now, the shortages are hitting office staff.

“Currently we’re below 50 percent staffing in our records and telcom section,” explains Springfield Police Captain Eric Reece.

Starting Monday, March 14th, the hours that the phones are answered, and the lobby is open at the Springfield Police Department on East Chestnut Expressway are being reduced. Previously, the lobby was open from 7 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and then from 7 a.m. until 1 p.m. on Saturdays. Phone lines were open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. every day of the week. Now, the lobby and phones will be closed over the weekend, and phones will only be answered until 5 p.m. during the week. This does *not* impact 911 calls.

“We’ve had to make these changes in order to continue with service with fewer people,” says Reece.

The shortage has also made keeping up with records more difficult, and spurred changes to pay and recruitment.

“It’s been difficult. But we’ve got dedicated employees here who are really working hard,” says Reece. ”We have made some changes to our recruiting. The base salary has gone up to over $15 an hour, which has already made a positive impact on our recruiting. And so we’re making some other changes like that to try to bring in new employees.”

Reece says if a resident needs to file a report, they can online at springfieldmo.gov/spd. But, there are certain reports that cannot be filed online -- such as a vehicle or gun theft.

“There won’t be really much of a time delay,” says Reece. “Everything will still be followed up on in a timely manner. Residents shouldn’t worry. We still have detectives and follow-up investigators working everything.”

Reece says the department expects foot traffic to pick up on Mondays after the change takes effect. So it will have more staff working on Mondays to keep up with the uptick.

“We’re just asking everybody to be a little patient if they come in and it’s busy,” says Reece. “We will definitely handle what you need.”

Springfield Police Public Affairs Officer Cris Swaters says the goal is to get staffing levels back to where they should be -- and then re-expand the hours to what they are today. There are currently 16 open positions for staff members who are not officers.

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