EVANSTON, Ill (WLS) -- There's no shortage of emergency calls in Evanston but, there is a short supply of police officers available to respond. That's because there are dozens of vacancies in the Evanston Police Department.
Staffing shortages are leading to a shift in responsibilities for some police officers in Evanston, and it could mean some crimes will not be routinely investigated.
"I would characterize this as very significant challenge that could easily turn into a crisis," Evanston Police Commander Ryan Glew said.
The department said in a press release that there are 26 vacancies, as well as seven officers not available for full-duty assignments.
Glew said the detective bureau is down by almost 50%. The shortage is due to early retirements and officers choosing to leave Evanston.
Glew said the "Defund Police"movement, which was supported by some Evanston City Council members, left many officers feeling devalued.The shortage means changing patrol schedules to 12 hour shifts.
"An officer had to go to a shooting with a 13 year old victim rendered aid and still had 11 hours in shift to go," Glew said.
Evanston police said they will not be routinely investigating misdemeanor thefts, trespassing, stolen cars and financial crimes where the suspect is not identified due to the staffing shortage.
The overtime and force backs created by the sustained shortage have had a negative impact on the health and well-being of department personnel, making these reassignments and service reductions necessary, according to Evanston Police.