It is a New Year! A great time to review the past, plan for the future and look at the facts of today.
Last year Parsons Police struggled with staffing just as our other police agencies in the region did. Actually, across the state and nation police recruiting and retention is a shared challenge. Better private sector wages and benefits, increased competition among police agencies and COVID all combined to stress the policing profession. Parsons PD has long struggled with employee turnover; over the past 25 years the average rate of turnover has been 20%. The Parsons Fire Department has been about the same rate. Lower total compensation has long made Parsons a training ground instead being a career employer. We made great recent strides forward to make our entry level salaries on par for our region.
Parsons continues to be an award-winning agency! A national award for Excellence in Collaboration set the agency above its peers. A state level award from the American Automobile Association (AAA) for traffic safety put the department in the top 1% of agencies in Kansas. A Gold Award from Lexipol for policing policies and risk management put Parsons PD in the top 10 percent of over 4,000 police agencies in the nation.
These achievements all happened during a pandemic, staff shortages, and increased workloads with each member of the police department being expected to do more every day. That is an achievement in and by itself - one I want to recognize the efforts of your Parsons Police Officers and Staff!
We will continue to partner with our law enforcement partners to include the Labette Sheriff's Office, Labette County Attorney as well as the Independence and Coffeyville Police Departments and others. We continue to build great relations resulting in arrests by working cooperatively on our local cases that can stretch across jurisdictions with the Kansas Bureau of Investigation (KBI), Kansas Highway Patrol (KHP), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI, the US Marshal's Fugitive Task Force, and others. These partnerships enhance our overall effectiveness extending local resources much farther.