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'Don't have enough patrolmen': Warner Robins Police Department remains understaffed

Chief John Wagner says they have four patrol squads and one traffic unit working throughout the city.

WARNER ROBINS, Ga. — To help solve crimes like the shooting that left a man dead Saturday night, and prevent others, the Warner Robins Police Department needs more help patrolling the city, so they're looking to hire officers.

According to Warner Robins Police Chief John Wagner, because of understaffing, they aren't able to patrol neighborhoods as often as they should.

Between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. in the afternoon, Jay West says people speed in and out of his neighborhood.

"I'm just sick of it! All these people who are speeding, if they had kids, lived here with kids, they would feel the same way I do," West said.

West says oftentimes, he watches them roll through or ignore the stop sign because he says police don't patrol his neighborhood.

"I'm just totally disgusted. I pay a good amount of taxes, property taxes on here and we are not getting police protection," West said.

"If there is one, two, three cars coming through every 30 minutes, where I have hundreds of cars coming through a large intersection, my top five intersections in the city with accidents, you have to prioritize," Police Chief John Wagner said.

Wagner says right now, they have 104 police officers, but they need 31 more to be fully staffed. They're down from where they were last year when they had 115 officers. 

"They don't have enough patrolmen on the ride," West said. "It's not that they aren't doing they're job, they just don't have enough of them."

West says he has offered to hire an off-duty officer and install cameras at his own expense. He says he has also asked his former city councilman for speed bumps in his neighborhood.

Chief Wagner says they're in the same boat as many police departments in Georgia. He also says they're losing officers to burnout, criticism from the public, retirees, and transfers.

"The City of Warner Robins stays very busy," Wagner said. "We answer quite a few calls, and when you don't have enough officers, the officers are just answering calls, which hurts patrol side and the proactive side of it."

"They can't be everywhere at once and I know that, but they can ride through here every now and again," West said.

Chief Wagner says they have four patrol squads and one traffic unit working throughout the city. They also have one DA, ATF, and US Marshal liaison officer. They're working to fill the FBI liaison position.

"The problem is getting the quality of officers. You can't just pick people off the street," Wagner said.

If you're interested in joining the Warner Robins Police Department, you can call their officer number for the hiring application: 478-302-5425 or (478) 302-5378.