The Ferguson Police Department does not have as many police officers as it’s supposed to have, nor as many as the mayor has claimed – and a dispatcher has resigned, saying the department cannot do its job and is putting police and citizens in danger.
“Mistakes are going to happen, and someone is going to get hurt, whether a citizen or officer,” said Shannon Dandridge, who resigned on August 10.
“I don’t feel at this point we can properly staff the dispatch center to keep the community and officers safe. Something needs to be done immediately.”
Dandridge spoke tearfully at a turbulent August 23 meeting of the Ferguson City Council.
Dandridge said budget cuts have decimated staff, reducing her office from seven full-time dispatchers and 10 part-time dispatchers to five full-time dispatchers and an “unlimited” amount of part-timers.
The number of officers on the street also is down. When the Department of Justice investigation in Ferguson began in 2014, there were 54 officers on the force. By May 2015, that number was down to 43, a Ferguson spokesman told The American. They were down to 41 officers as of mid-July, a spokesman told The Huffington Post, which was the most recent tally of officers the city could provide.