Colorado Springs Police Deputy Chief Vince Niski says the department is getting close to announcing a "restructuring" that sources say will beef up patrols across the city.
The changes come on the heels of an Independent report ("Are we less safe?" News, Aug. 24) detailing rising crime rates in nearly every category compared to the first half of 2015, as well as the five-year average. Meantime, the number of patrol officers has fallen 10 percent in the past five years and response times have slowed to 13 minutes for a top-priority call. Some shifts have three or fewer officers on duty to handle calls across a quarter of the city, according to officers and CSPD data.
Sources familiar with the department, who insisted on anonymity, say several specialized units are being suspended or abolished so those officers can be assigned to patrol. Among those are the Community Impact Units, Gang Unit and one that deals with traffic crashes.
Niski declined to reveal details of the new plan, saying, "As far as our restructuring, we haven't released that to our organization. We won't be releasing it till next week when the chief [Pete Carey] gets back. We'll do a media release. At that time, it will go out to everybody."
Carey said via a spokesman he didn't have time to grant the Indy an interview for its Aug. 24 report.