Smyrna Police Department 'top heavy', needs more officers - WKRN News 2

Smyrna Police Department 'top heavy', needs more officers

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SMYRNA, Tenn. -

A non-profit group recommends that Smyrna should hire more police officers.

The city spent $75,000 last July to hire The International City/County Management Association (ICMA), a 100-year-old, nonprofit professional association of local government administrators and managers that assists local governments in providing services to their citizens in an efficient and effective manner.

One of the main goals of the study was to look at how well current staff at the fire and police department handle work load.

The report said the police department was "top heavy" and had several redundant positions.

They recommended cutting four of those upper level jobs, two captains and two lieutenants, but they also recommended hiring eight new officers.

"Overall in my opinion, it was a good report," said Kevin Arnold, Smyrna's Police Chief.

Arnold told Nashville's News 2 the budget process has been difficult for them over the past few years, and they haven't had the money for new hires.

"In 2008 when the economy hit the downturn, it impacted this town," said Arnold, "Luckily we've been able to keep a good force on the street and haven't had to cut any police officers during that time."

The report recommended four of the new hires work in the patrol division and four focus more on community policing, meeting with area businesses owners, like Andrea Corke.

Corke told Nashville's News 2 she would even be okay with a small tax increase if that's what it takes to keep their community safe.

"If it takes a tax dollars for protection and that's what it takes for the police department and the fire department and other departments to secure the city, it just has to be done," said Corke, "The cost of living goes up for everyone and that's their jobs."

Corke owns "Breaking Bread," a restaurant in Smyrna's downtown district along Front Street.

Corke has had her own experience with needing police assistance.

"Someone tried to break into the back of my restaurant to get in," explained Corke, "I called them [police] and said somebody had tried to break in and they came immediately."

Chief Arnold now has 45 days to make a presentation to the Smyrna Town Council on how he will implement these changes.

The group recommended the fire department not fill 11 open positions.

Click here to read the full report.

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