Fairbanks Police Department Struggles With Understaffing

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At the Fairbanks city council meeting Monday night, Fairbanks Police chief Eric Jewkes delivered an urgent report.
He says the department is struggling with staffing, crime statistics, and recruitment.

Jewkes's biggest concern at the Fairbanks Police Department was staffing.
According to Jewkes, at least six vacancies are still open at the department, with seven others in training.
He also hinted that a few police officers are getting close to their retirement, which would put staffing more at risk.
With the department short-staffed, some officers have been struggling with working overtime.
Even the recent approval of a police recruitment bonus program has not yet had the kind of results Jewkes has been hoping for.

Jewkes said with the department short-staffed and officers working long hours, crime rates and violence have been increasing.

"We've endured four officer involved shootings in less than one year. One of which resulted in Sergeant Brandt's death. We have three officers with an average of about one year on that have already been involved in a fatal shooting in their first year of employment. The increased demand without the supply of officers creates frustration for the officers who can't dedicate time to solvable cases and more importantly to victims of crime who are left without the level of service they expect. I'm bringing this and I am not offering an immediate solution. I don't have a plan I don't, I'm not asking for a check. I think we need to have a conversation so I'm not coming and saying here's what I want to do, I'm just saying we need to have this conversation to figure it out."