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Coral Springs Police and fire chiefs make case for additional positions in their departments

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Coral Springs, Florida – The Coral Spring city’s police and fire chiefs explained this week the need to add more staff to their departments, as the city considers raising a tax and fees in the coming fiscal year.

According to the chiefs, during the pandemic, both departments have been down in staffing levels due to illnesses, injuries, and other circumstances, as calls for services remained mostly unchanged.

“The last 18 months have been a struggle,” said Fire Chief Michael McNally, during a budget hearing at Monday’s city commission meeting.

The city is proposing to set aside $2.2 million in the proposed $147 million budget for 2021-22 to create 18 new positions in the city government, from 837 this year to 855. That includes four officers for the police department and three firefighters/paramedics for the fire department.

According to McNally, his department has 159 employees but needs 164 to respond to emergencies and handle all other duties of the fire department that also covers Parkland. The three extra firefighters/paramedics would reduce the stress placed on the staff in running calls and covering workers who are out because of illness or injuries, he said. He added, that the additional staff would reduce overtime expenses associated when employees can’t work.

“The men and women of our department have done an incredible job of maintaining the same level through Covid, through injuries, and through illnesses,” he said. The department has six people suffering from cancer – the most cases in more than 20 years, he said.

According to Chief Clyde Parry, his staff is also understaffed, leading to delay responses to non-emergencies.

Parry also his staff is having challenges these days responded to calls for speeding in neighborhoods. He said, there are simply not enough officers to set up traffic enforcement stops on major and side streets because officers are too busy responding to more serious calls for help. The same is true for lesser crimes, including car break-ins.

“It’s not uncommon to wait now…(in) vehicle burglaries – somebody comes out and they find that their car has been broken into and they’re upset — then make them wait two hours or three hours for an officer to arrive,” Parry said.

He added: “It isn’t the type of customer service we are used to in Coral Springs.”

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