Lexington Council committee gets latest info on public safety staffing

WEKU | By Stu Johnson

Lexington city officials continue their efforts to recruit and retain public safety workers. A council committee got a briefing earlier this week.

Public Safety Commissioner Ken Armstrong led a presentation on staffing in police, fire, corrections, and E-911. Armstrong said additional pay is not the full answer and some factors are out of the control of city leaders.

“We’ve moved away from some individuals, especially in the ages between 21 and about 30, give or take, the interest or desire to work shift work, or holidays, or vacation. Those types of things,” said Armstrong.

Armstrong said the workforce has also changed with more interest in working from home.

Vacancies did decline in corrections and E-911. Still, as of last week, there were more than 90 vacancies in police and corrections and 28 in fire. Armstrong said there are classes with new hires in each area. He said it’s important to vocalize appreciation for these workers.

“The negativity out there in the world is stifling to our employees at times. You know you pay for the sins of others. That’s how it is. That’s how it is. One police officer does something. One firefighter does something three thousand miles away from here. It might as well have been someone in our own police department or fire department,” said Armstrong.

The former police officer told Council members 100% staffing in these public safety areas is almost impossible. Armstrong said it happened one day at the jail, over the last four years.

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Photo by Stu Johnson

Republished with permission from WEKU.