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Lexington Council committee hears the latest on public safety recruitment and retention

Public Safety Officers Attend 07-02-24 Council Committee Meeting
Stu Johnson
Public Safety Officers Attend 07-02-24 Council Committee Meeting

Lexington Council members got a thorough review of recruitment and retention of public safety workers last week. One Councilman would like to dive a little more into overall numbers in each division.

Public Safety Commissioner Ken Armstrong outlined strategies in police, fire, and corrections. He noted progress in each area with the biggest turnaround in community corrections. 10th District Council Member Dave Sevigny would like a closer look at authorized strength numbers in public safety sectors.

“There’s a data based solution for how that number comes about. And it’s not just because a previous Council said oh we need this many people,” said Sevigny.

Sevigny said it’s difficult to know if the current authorized strength figures are an overshot or undershot. He said heads of police, fire, and corrections have requested additional positions, but not made calls to change authorized strength.

Armstrong, a former Lexington police officer, said major reductions in vacancies have occurred in community corrections. Armstrong said criminal activity has an impact as well.

“The less crime and as you all know is actually down in the City right now..thank God…the less people that are arrested because less crime is occurring…then the benefit there is we don’t have to have as many correctional officers,” said Armstrong.

Armstrong said he gives a lot of credit to Community Corrections Director Scott Colvin and his staff for, quote, “taking the bull by the horns” when they came in over a year ago. Armstrong said correctional officers were being underpaid and steps have been taken to rectify that.

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Stu has been reporting for WEKU for more than 35 years. His primary beat is Lexington/Fayette government.
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