Multiple Retirements Force Bangor Police Officers to Log Extra Hours
While many are struggling to find a job in today’s economy, the Bangor Police Department is having a tough time filling its job openings.The department has seven positions available right now, with another nine spots opening up within the next year.For now, it means lots of overtime for patrolmen, who are getting used to doing more with less.”The staffing levels are creating an issue for us. We now need to, at times, force officers to stay longer than they want to. They get tired, they get stressed,” said Bangor Police Chief Ron Gastia.Gastia said it could potentially be several years before all the jobs are filled. This is in part due to the lengthy statewide police academy future officers have to go through, which only allows a few spaces for Bangor candidates. “Law enforcement is being scrutinized by the public. They want people who are educated, who really know what they’re doing out there and it’s very challenging,” said Gastia.Picking up the extra slack eats into the city’s $800,000 overtime budget, but city councilor Cary Weston said it’s not an issue limited to this area.”The problems facing Bangor are the same as facing every other community throughout the state and quite honestly throughout the nation. It’s not a lack of police officers on the street as it is a lack of new applicants,” said Weston.Until they can find enough qualified applicants, officers will bear the burden of the longer work weeks, so public safety doesn’t get shortchanged.