Lisbon police still struggle to fill ranks
LISBON — The Lisbon Police Department is struggling to keep and find officers and dispatchers to fill its roster with little relief in sight.
Chief Mike Abraham submitted the resignation of a part-time dispatcher for council’s approval during their Tuesday night meeting. Numerous part-time and full-time officers and dispatchers have resigned over the last several months, leaving Abraham short five police officers and three dispatchers with zero applications on file.
Abraham said that the two nearby police academies have only seen eight or so prospective officers in each recent graduating class. Larger police departments recruit officers straight out of the academy, leaving only a few left in search of a job. Abraham said that even with the recent pay raise, Lisbon’s wages do not compete with other municipalities. According to Abraham, other departments are offering officers upwards of $28 an hour while his department pays full-time officers $22 an hour and part-time officers $19.50.
“That is why I have been fighting so hard for this pay increase,” Abraham said. In 2019, Abraham came to council with a two year plan using the income tax money. Abraham championed for full-time officers to receive $24 an hour by 2021 in order to compete with the wages offered at other nearby departments, but his request was not granted by council during the latest payroll ordinance discussion.
Abraham said that police departments everywhere are hiring and the few qualified individuals that are looking for police jobs are more likely to apply elsewhere with higher pay. The department is short on man-power with only 12 officers employed, which means at times there are only two officers available to patrol the entire area according to Abraham.
As of now, Abraham is looking for two to three part-time police officers and one to two part-time dispatchers. Those interested can apply at the department on North Market Street.