Atlanta Police facing critical manpower shortage

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Another 23 police officers have quit the force in the city of Atlanta.

Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields said she just recently got their notifications. Their departures add to an already serious manpower crunch of officers available to patrol neighborhoods.

Overall, the latest staff numbers paint a dismal picture. The city has approximately 1,700 officers. There are more than three hundred jobs going begging.

"I'm not going to sugar coat this," said Chief Erika Shields. "Would those extra three hundred officers, with fifty added to the six zones make a difference? Yes."

At the same time officers are leaving out the back door, fewer and fewer new officers are coming through the front door.

Back in 2015, the city had a successful hiring campaign, bringing on 207 cops. But the number has decreased dramatically. Only 114 got hired last year.

Shields said one of the problems is money. She called it a tough sell in the current climate to ask an individual to lay it on the line for $42,000 a year. She noted much smaller and less demanding departments, like sandy springs and the new public school police agency, pay more than Atlanta.