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AUDIO: Waite Park Crime, Staffing Levels Highlighted During State of The City Speech

AUDIO: Waite Park Crime, Staffing Levels Highlighted During State of The City Speech Click to Enlarge Photo: Coston, Photos.com

Feb 19, 2014 at 3:24 pm

WAITE PARK, Minn. (KNSI) - For a relatively small population - roughly 8,000 people - the community of Waite Park faces some bigger city challenges.

This was one of the messages delivered during the annual "State of the City" address, held Wednesday afternoon at the Moose Lodge in Waite Park.

The community's Chief of Police Dave Bentrud showcased a close look at the city's crime statistics as compared to other cities, along with staffing levels.

According to city data, the amount of Part 1, or more significant crimes, has risen since 2006. 

In short, Bentrud says Waite Park has some of the busiest police officers in the St. Cloud area.

"When you look at our calls for service, compared to cities like Alexandria, Buffalo, Champlin, which have significantly higher populations, they have 20 or more police officers." Bentrud says. "We have 13. So the demand on our staff is high." 

Bentrud says the city is known for being a regional, business hub. That quality, Bentrud says, places additional strain on public resources.

He adds, only 18 percent of those who commit crimes within city limits are residents. 

The department has been fleshing out a long-term strategic plan, which involves additional public safety staff. However, Bentrud says a significant challenge is securing the funding to make that happen.

"Right now, we're kind of handcuffed, no pun intended, because as a force, we have no local government aid, and there doesn't seem to a willingness to look at that formula for anomaly cities like Waite Park," Bentrud says. "So, we have got to figure out a way to pay for the staff that we need." 

Bentrud says the busiest times of the day for police calls are between 10am and 6pm. 

Bentrud - Staffing Inadequate

Bentrud - Funding is a Struggle

Abby Faulkner

Posted By Abby Faulkner

Assistant News Director

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