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Keokuk Police Staffing Questioned

Questions have surfaced about the number of employees in the Keokuk Police Department, but no answers were available during the city council's most recent meeting.

The city council normally sets the official number of employees per department in July.

That process was delayed until the Sept. 19 meeting, though, due to contract negotiations running longer than anticipated.

The vote never occurred, though, because Police Chief Dave Hinton questioned why the chart showed his department at 26 employees, instead of its current level of 27.

The resolution originally listed 27, but was changed at the request of Finance Director John Russell, who was not at the meeting.

Finance Committee Chairman Roger Bryant says he was under the impression the city only budgeted for 26 employees.

Hinton countered that he had been told, on several occasions, by city staff that there was enough money to maintain 27.

Mayor Tom Marion says he will get all sides together to find out what is going on.

"We will just have to look at those numbers and see what is happening," says Marion.  "It is not an intent to cut anyone in any position."

Marion says he may ask the finance director to attend future meetings to avoid such situations.

The Keokuk Police Department is expected to lose an officer to retirement within the next two months.

So the debate over 26 employees vs. 27 employees is critical to whether that position will be filled once it becomes vacant.

The staffing levels for the rest of the departments were not questioned during the meeting.

Jason Parrott is a former reporter at Tri States Public Radio.