According to the Tuscaloosa News, Tuscaloosa needs 20 more officers, as the city is budgeted for 285 officers, but with 265 is down 7 percent. Meanwhile, nearby Northport needs nine more officers as the city has budgeted 63 officers, and it only has 54, or 14 percent.
“For the most part, the vast majority of the community is not going to realize we have an officer shortage,” said Tuscaloosa Police Chief Steve Anderson. “Our response times have gone up. People may have to wait a little longer for an officer to respond to a call, and we have to prioritize based on the severity of the situation.”
But chiefs from both cities say the officer shortage is not affecting public safety.
“Providing services to the public is not a problem for us,” weighed-in Northport Police Chief Gerald Burton. “We can still staff our shirts and maintain with what we have.”