The Ithaca Police Department faces critical understaffing, operating with only 38 officers, less than half the number they had two decades ago.
This decline in officers coincides with the city’s population growth, driven in part by the returning college community.
Ithaca police union President Tom Condzella expressed concerns over the reduced capacity, which he believes hampers their timely response to emergency calls. As an example, he referenced a recent incident where only three officers responded to a situation involving a suspect wielding a machete.
In response, Ithaca Mayor Laura Lewis is spearheading initiatives to revitalize the police force. An investment of $57,000 has been made in a recruitment video and other outreach endeavors, aiming to attract potential recruits.
The search for a permanent police chief, after a two-year vacancy, is also underway, with an external hiring firm leading the effort.
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