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Muskegon Director of Public Safety addresses staffing shortages

Muskegon Times
Muskegon Times

City needs more cops, more firemen says new Chief

Facing substantial staffing shortages, Muskegon’s new Director of Public Safety says the Lakeshore needs more firemen, and more cops.

After being sworn in as Muskegon’s new Director of Police Safety last week, new Police and Fire Chief Timothy Kozal inherits departments he says that are currently understaffed.

“We do need more additional firefighters, we do need additional police officers, and that is something that we are working hard at,” Kozal said.

It is a problem not unique to the City of Muskegon, as police and fire departments across the nation are fighting staffing shortages amid a rise in crime.

In a recent national survey from the Police Executive Research Forum, departments reported a 45% increase in retirement and an 18% increase in resignations, while hiring replacements dropped.

Kozal says finding new recruits who were born and raised in the community, who have a vested interest in Muskegon’s success will be critical in filling the staffing gaps.

“You want to be able to wake up every day, and say, ‘I want to come to work,’ and I think all the men and women we have here, have that,” Kozal said. “They wake up, the want to come in, they want to serve, they want to do what is right by the community members. And hopefully we find some homegrown young men and women to come in, be a recruit and serve the citizens of Muskegon.”

Statistically, Muskegon, is one of the more dangerous places to live, with a crime rate that is higher than 94% of all other Michigan cities and towns of all sizes.