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Bryan PD: Depleted Department

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For Bryan Police, the summer months are the busiest.

"School's out. Everybody's out and about," said Assistant Chief Peter Scheets of Bryan PD. "They're staying up later. There's more time and opportunity to get into mischief."

Which is why the last thing Bryan PD needs now is a shortage of field officers. But that's what they've had for the last six months. While they usually have 48 field officers, there are currently 11 vacancies.

"The work load and the strain on the officers that are here has increased significantly," Scheets said.

It's because of retirements, departures and military deployments that Bryan's men and women in blue are singing the blues.

"You'll see officers taking a little more time to respond to the lower level calls," said Scheets, "but in terms of the higher priority, we try to maintain the same response time."

For instances of imminent danger, or Priority 1 calls, Bryan PD is still immediately responding, but as the priority decreases, the response time increases, and with the department hurt by vacancies, the response can be even longer.

In the meantime, officers assigned to special divisions of the force like code enforcement and animal control, are being used for regular patrols.

"Even though we're broken down by division and we have special teams and units, we're all Bryan Police officers," said Lieutenant Wayland Rawls, "so we look department-wide to try and find the help we need to still accomplish our goals."

And of course, there is an on-going process to fill the void.

"The problem that we have here is when we hire somebody to fill a vacancy, we take approximately nine months to get that officer into the position that's vacant," Scheets said.

It is a long process for any man or woman who wants to become a part of Bryan PD. They first have to go to Central Texas Police Academy for four months if they aren't already certified as a peace officer. After that, they're back here in Bryan for another four-and-a-half months of field training.

"We just graduated seven officers out the Central Texas police academy today," Scheets said. "Those officers now have to go through the four-month field training process."

And another three new cops are just days away from joining the force when their field training is completed. And for a stretched and stressed Bryan PD, it couldn't come any sooner.