PSL police chief says layoffs unavoidable

PORT ST. LUCIE, FL (WFLX) - If Port St. Lucie police officers who just got their pink slips were hoping their chief would save their jobs. Sadly, that's not what's going to happen.

The chief reported Tuesday, there's no way the city can avoid police layoffs as they don't have the funds to keep them on the payroll.

On September 24, 24 uniformed officers and three civilians will be laid off. The chief said, "[It's] very painful cuts," that came only after other parts of the budget were slashed.

The chief says if you take into account these layoffs and some previous personnel cuts they were forced to make, they have lost a total of 89 positions since 2008.

He says because of these latest layoffs, people in Port St Lucie who are the victims of crimes such as break-ins may find that detectives will no longer be there to investigate.

Police may not respond to minor traffic accidents.

And the chief says their response times will be longer. "We're gonna put the same number of patrol cars on the road at any given moment," said Don Shinnamon, Port St. Lucie Police Chief. "We are committed to keeping the same coverage in patrol. When people pick up the phone and call 911, for the most part, it should be invisible to them."

The chief says through rescheduling and changing some shifts around, they will be able to keep the same number of patrol cars on the streets of Port St. Lucie.

But he says it's possible that some lawbreakers who, in the past, were identified by police and arrested, will now remain free, and can continue to commit more crimes, because there will be fewer detectives.

Copyright 2010 WFLX. All Rights Reserved.