Saginaw Police chief says he needs help in retaining officers

Mandatory overtime, officers leaving department leading to low morale within force
Saginaw Police Chief Bob Ruth meets with the media.
Saginaw Police Chief Bob Ruth meets with the media.
Published: Aug. 5, 2021 at 6:22 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

SAGINAW, Mich. (WJRT) - Saginaw Police Chief Bob Ruth is responding to our story that there is a crisis in the Saginaw Police Department. Its short-staffed, some personnel have worked hundreds of overtime already this year and morale is low.

“I think officers in any department would get burnt out working the hours and the officers are working a lot of hours and they are working hard,” says Ruth.

Twelve people have left the department in the last year and a half. Doug Wortley of the Police Officers Association of Michigan say more departures could happen soon.

“Its up to about twelve, that the officers are putting in applications in other departments because they don’t feel that the city supports them,” says Wortley.

Officers are leaving Saginaw for higher paying jobs with better benefits. Ruth says this is happening in Flint and Detroit as well and he says he is working with legislators for help.

“We are going to the state, I went to the local level, I’m going to the state level to see if we can a program together to make that happen,” he says.

Ruth says he has hired 11 officers in the last year and half, but many of those still have to go through the police academy and won’t be ready for duty until next year.

In the meantime, the shootings continue, the police scramble to go from call to call, and the mandatory overtime for officers is putting those on the frontline of this latest uptick in gun violence on edge.

“The city, the administration, dropped the ball on this, they were fore warned in staff meetings,” says Wortley.

I tried to reach city manager Tim Morales for comment on last comment by Doug Wortley, but did not hear back.

Again Saginaw is budgeted for 60 police positions, but right now have 47 fully active and only 27 on road patrol.

Copyright 2021 WJRT. All rights reserved.