The Naples Police Department is struggling to recruit more officers to live and work in an expensive community. NPD is short at least nine officers, and others could be on their way out in search of better opportunities.
People in Naples are now worried that crime will rise if there aren’t enough officers. The police union says Naples officers are the second-lowest paid in the state of Florida.
As we know, Naples is an expensive city to live in, a top destination if you will. And, right now, some neighbors say safety, security and reputation are at stake.
The Naples Police Department is short nine officers. And that has neighbors worried for the remaining officers and for themselves.
So, they held a meeting to discuss. “If you keep doing and not fund these police officers when you pick up this phone and dial 911, you may not get someone to pick up. We do not need this,” someone said during the meeting.
The police union says they’re short-staffed, and specialty units are going to be dismantled as a result. Jesse Granese is a Naples officer and president of the union’s lodge 38.
“We have no crime suppression teams, which means we have nobody out there monitoring narcotics. Our traffic division is one Sergeant that drives around in a motorcycle…it’s usually 3,” Granese said.
Granese told WINK News that only three detectives are working major crimes and all have huge caseloads. People at Naples PD are getting burned out. With salaries starting at a little over $53,000, it isn’t enough to attract and keep new officers. That is especially true when you factor in the cost of living in Naples.
The City of Naples and the police union had a tentative agreement on the table that included better pay and a pension. That is until the city pulled out of the deal.
“It was a huge blow of morale to our department,” said Granese.
Teresa Heitmann is the Mayor of Naples. “I’ll just tell you. We are working for historic.. historic measures in these negotiations. Please, I assure the public we are working hard to have historic measures taken with the salaries for our first responders,” Heitmann said.
The City of Naples is set to hold a meeting on public safety on Tuesday, April 12, in the afternoon.