CSPD to eliminate gang unit in reorganization amid 'critical' staffing shortage
The Colorado Springs Police Department will disband the gang unit indefinitely and reassign those officers to patrol duty amid a "critical" staffing shortage, Chief Pete Carey announced Thursday.
The move marked just one of several sweeping changes announced Thursday that figures to affect gang, traffic accident and drunk driving investigations across Colorado Springs.
The moves are expected to move dozens of officers to patrol duty - an area hit hard by resignations and retirements, Carey said in a statement.
The changes include:
-Moving the department's entire gang unit to street patrol duty, beginning Sunday;
-Reassigning traffic crash investigators within the department's patrol division to street duty, beginning Jan. 1;
-Removing the number of citations that officers must write as part of the department's "2016 traffic performance goal";
-Leaving vacancies unfilled in specialized units until at least Jan. 1, unless Carey and his deputy chiefs agree that not filling the position "will have a severe negative impact on department operations."
In a statement, Carey said the decisions were difficult.
"Officers need cover cars when they respond to potentially dangerous calls for service," Carey's statement said. "And quite frankly, we aren't meeting that need right now.
"My hope was we'd see a lower volume of calls as we came to the end of the summer, but that has not happened."