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Budget constraints force Grandview police to shuffle duties

GRANDVIEW - Cutbacks at the Grandview Police Department have led to some officers taking on extra duties, which may result in slower investigations, but Assistant Chief Kal Fuller said the same number of officers will continue to be out on the roads.

The budget cuts approved by the Grandview City Council for 2013 removed one full-time officer position. In addition, a sergeant position that was vacant in 2012 remains unfilled. With the retirement of Assistant Chief Mark Ware, Fuller was moved into the assistant chief spot but his sergeant position has not been replaced.

"We used to have four sergeants, now we have two," said Fuller. "I'm still doing many of the duties from when I was a sergeant along with my new duties."

In the recent past the department has also had two detectives, but one of the detectives is now working as a road officer to cover the gap.

"It limits how much we can do," Fuller said. "Individual cases are still being worked on, but we no longer have the time to see the connections and tie things together."

Fuller also said investigations will take a little longer to complete. The loss of a detective position cuts back on the flexibility of the department.

"When we needed another officer on the street the gang detective could suit up and be out there," Fuller said. "It helped to cut back on overtime. The second detective also took the overflow from the first detective along with working on gangs."

Fuller said the detectives also used to help officers to get search warrants, which sped up investigations. Tightening restrictions by the courts on warrant requests have also taken a toll.

"It's a domino effect," he said. "It's like playing whack-a-mole. You might catch up for a moment, but problems will pop up somewhere else."

Despite the issues, Fuller said the department has been lucky so far this year. A lack of serious crimes like homicide has meant the department has been able to stay on top of everything despite the cutbacks.

"A boat paddling upstream needs a certain number of people to make forward progress," he said. "At a certain point, even though you are paddling, you are standing still compared to the shore. If you stop paddling you are washed downstream."

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