STRAFFORD, Mo. – Voters in Strafford passed a tax increase on Tuesday that will benefit law enforcement that has been struggling with limited staffing.
“One of the goals is to get up to full staff. Right now, we’re not at full staff,” Police Chief Dennis Shook said. “The tax will allow us to reassess our starting wages and allow us to reassess wages for retention purposes.”
Ozarks First spoke to people in Strafford who said this issue needed to be passed.
“I just think it would be good and beneficial to add those extra hands for the police station to be here,” Joyce Jennings said.
“With the growth of the city, as much as it has been, particularly in the last 5 to 6 years, it’s extremely important that we increase our police force,” Denis George said.
Shook said the increase will let him add two more officers.
“It’ll give us more coverage to boost the morale of our neighborhoods,” Shook said. “They’ll know that we have officers on duty 24/7.”
He says he’s hoping to avoid problems he had faced with a shortened staff.
“Minimum staffing has several hardships that we were not able to answer every call in a timely manner,” Shook said. “Sometimes there’s not an officer here and we have to have another agency to assist us.”
People Ozarks First talked to said the department’s boost was overdue, and it was the first tax increase on a ballot in over 40 years.