DPD Chief Randal Walker
Dresden Police Chief Randal Walker has high hopes for the safety of the City of Dresden and its citizens, but a short-handed department and a heavy load of calls has lately affected his hopes and raised his concerns.
At the October monthly meeting of the City of Dresden Board of Mayor and Aldermen Monday night, Walker addressed the board and, while thanking them for their support thus far in his short stint as chief, requested more officers as his fleet of eight officers constantly finds itself overloaded and overworked.
“It’s been a bad week with the Stout four-wheeler accident and the T-bone wreck on Evergreen and Highway 22 that sent two students to the hospital,” he said. “Thank goodness those students are going to be alright. I cannot see a four-wheeler now without thinking about Jordan.
“The board has been very good to me the past six months. I appreciate the vehicles and the work on the police station, but I must have more officers.
“I have one officer working the midnight shift. The overtime budget was gone when I got here. Since then, I’ve sent officers to special schools for training. I must keep everything in line and in compliance. If I leave something out, the entire department is out of compliance. We’re very shorthanded. I don’t like having one person on the midnight shift. We’re spread too thin.”
Walker admitted that being spread too thin means that he must often function both in the capacity of the chief and criminal investigator, a post he previously held with the City of Martin.
Currently, a large-scale burglary is in need of investigation, but is beginning to fall by the wayside as other business must be attended to. Walker urged the board to look ahead to next year’s budget in making the call about hiring new officers.
In three months, he and secretary Toya Bell noted 1,680 calls into the office ranging from small issues to large problems and he admitted that he didn’t want to cut the calls short due to stacking up.
“It’s going to come back on us and that’s not good. I have an idea of what I need, but I’ll take what I can get. It worries me, though. I’m afraid if something were to happen, it would be too late, whether it happened to a rookie or a veteran. It would get to me bad,” he admitted.
“When my officers get off their shifts, I want them to go home to their families.”
With eight officers and a chief, Walker admitted that no one can afford to be sick or take a day off.
“We had to rely on the county’s help for the four-wheeler accident. And when people see that we can’t get these problems solved in a timely manner, they’re going to try to get away with more because they’ll think we’ll just let it go,” he commented.
Mayor Danny Forrester recommended the police commission look into a solution and get back with the full board as soon as possible.