The Electra Police Department is down 4 full time officers, leaving only Chief Johnny Morris, another full time officer a part time sergeant to patrol the city.
Two spots have been open for about 3 months, and on Wednesday 2 more officers gave notice they were leaving. Chief Morris said one officer was leaving for another opportunity and the other was going to work in the oil fields where he would get better pay and benefits.
Morris said a steady stream of new recruits is not unfamiliar to his department, adding he takes some pride in knowing young officers can come to Electra for a first job and to gain some experience.
Still, he said its not easy to find constant help. Morris said, "What we have trouble with in small towns or communities is you have to have a right person to work in law enforcement. If we were in it for the money we'd all starve to death."
The shortage will leave Chief Morris and his other full time officer working longer hours. He said, "Normally we work an 8 hour shift. This is going to make myself and the other officer work a 12 hour shift. Then my sergeant will fill in so one of us can have some time off." Even at full capacity the department only has one officer working at a time.
Electra P. D also has mutual aid agreements with departments in the surrounding areas and the Wichita County sheriffs Office in case of emergency or scheduling conflicts. It's those agreements that keep residents feeling safe. Shirley Monroe said, "Knowing that you have a backup out there will make you feel a little better."
Monroe added that even with the depleted force she still has confidence in the Electra Police. She said, "I've been here my whole life, never had a problem and the time that I needed them they were the most courteous and they watched over me.
When Chief Morris and the city are able to fill the department's four vacancies it will still take 6-14 weeks before those officers will be out on patrol.