Springboro to add 6 new police officers over next 2 years

By the end of 2020, six new police officers should be patrolling Springboro.

On Thursday night, Springboro City Council supported the staffing increases called for by Police Chief Jeff Kruithoff and expected to add about $400,000 to the city budget in 2020.

“These are all things we can afford,” City Manager Chris Pozzuto said during a presentation before the regular meeting.

Two weeks ago, the council supported adding two officers to bring the department back to full strength and indicated support for additional staffing.

“We’ll get you what you need for staff, within reason of course,” Mayor John Agenbroad said.

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The department had been two short since April when officers Nathan Anderkin and Lisa Walsh left the department due to injuries, Kruithoff said.

After a consultant’s report on Oct. 4, Pozzuto told the council they would return with recommendations in addition to the replacements.

On Thursday, all the officers not on duty listened as Detective Terry Dunkel, president of the local union, said there were concerns about staffing.

Then Kruithoff offered slides showing calls were expected to be almost 13 percent more this year, while the department was understaffed.

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The department had 17 of 19 patrol positions filled until an 18th was sworn in Thursday. Two of three detective slots are filled.

Yet responses to the citizen survey indicated 85 percent of responding residents were satisfied with police service — up 10 percent from 2008.

Kruithoff said the department was “probably approaching a perfect storm,” but attributed his slow acceptance of the need for more staff to his experience as a patrolman in cities less concerned about community service.

“It’s very different here in Springboro. We are very service oriented,” Kruithoff said.

The addition of a second school resource officer also depleted officers available for other duties, Kruithoff said.

The staffing was covered through a doubling of scheduled overtime to almost 1,700 hours, according to the presentation.

“We don’t want to burn out our officers,” Agenbroad said.

The overtime cost to the city was not immediately available.

Councilwoman Janie Ridd urged Kruithoff to take steps to prevent such a staff shortage from happening again.

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