DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – The Dayton police chief said his department is facing a staffing shortage. The department has lost more officers in the last five months than they typically do in a year.

Since January 1, 2022, 23 police officers have left the Dayton Police Department. DPD currently has 332 officers In the department, Chief Kamran Afzal said to be fully-staffed, they need 365.

Afzal said the officers they do have are now having to work harder to make sure no patrol goes uncovered.

“The impact is on the health and well-being of our officers because you’re running call to call to call, so that’s a concern,” Afzal said.

Afzal said some of the factors that may be causing officers to leave include other departments offering better pay, a lack of community support and changes in how people view law enforcement.

“When you’re day-in and day-out putting your life on the line for total strangers and you perceive that people don’t appreciate the very thing that you do, especially when you’re 24, 25, 26 years old – things that are really historical or major – they think how does that, what does that have to do with me,” Afzal said.

Afzal said the department is now looking into holding two police academy classes a year instead of one.
They plan to begin accepting applicants from other departments in Ohio so they don’t have to go through DPD’s academy.

“Our intention isn’t to take anyone else’s officers, but at least open it up so if you are a certified officer in Ohio, that you don’t have to go through the full academy,” Afzal said.

Mayor Jeffrey Mims Jr. said the City of Dayton also needs to improve how they show their appreciation for the city’s officers and showcase the good the officers do outside of responding to crime.

“If they know that we appreciate them for the work that they do, then more and more citizens will know, and then those tensions that they have between each other begin to sort of shrink or dissipate,” Mims said.

The department is also working internally to restructure over the next few weeks. They plan to move more officers onto patrol, with the goal to provide relief to their current patrol officers.

DPD also expects to graduate 25 recruits from their police academy in September. A new class of 28 recruits have just entered the academy this year. The department is also accepting applications for their 2023 class.