HARRISON COUNTY, W.Va (WDTV) - There are five empty positions currently at the Bridgeport Police Department, which is putting the station in a bind.
"It's harmful to the department when you lose those types of individuals," said Chief John Walker of the Bridgeport Police Department. "It takes years to replace them and there are thousands of dollars in training and education you lose."
Chief Walker says that when most people join a station they stay for life, but that’s not always the case.
Having multiple officers leave during a certain period of time puts a strain on the remaining officers, and it can take well over a year to replace them.
"It's five or six months to do the background and all the testing for these individuals and then we have to wait for academy availability. It takes probably close to a year or maybe even eighteen months before you can replace them." said Chief Walker.
The open spots are for patrol officers, which are responsible for sweeping the city and keeping residents safe.
While the openings aren't specifically for drug officers, all patrol cops are trained for drug enforcement as well. However, having five less officers around during a drug epidemic can put a strain on the police.
"We train our patrol officers for drug addiction and detection, so when you have four or five officers gone then that's five less people out there working in that area."
Chief Walker says this shortage does not affect residents, and that they will still see cruisers around the city as their remaining staff picks up extra shifts.
The station hopes to improve their community policing once their openings are filled.
"When we get build back up again we'll have additional officers be able to do more community policing."