Editorial Board: A bit of appreciation to our understaffed police, and a note of concern | CraigDailyPress.com

Editorial Board: A bit of appreciation to our understaffed police, and a note of concern

So many of us know what it’s like to do more with less.

The Moffat County Public Safety Center includes the offices of the Craig Police Department.
Cuyler Meade / Craig Press

Whether it’s economics, changing industry variables, the pandemic or something else, many if not most of our places of business have been hit with that paradoxical need to find ways to accomplish the same jobs — or even more substantial ones — with fewer resources.

In lots of cases, those resources are of the human variety, as staff in many corners of the business world have dwindled for reasons both internal and external.

It’s not ideal, to put it mildly.

That truth extends, quite unfortunately, to our local police forces. Both the sheriff’s office and Craig Police are and have been desperately understaffed for a concerning length of time, and it means, like it does for so many of us, those who remain on the forces have to do more with less.

We’ve learned that there are times that, due to a lack of police being available to respond, certain “non-emergent” calls have to go essentially ignored. We can sort of relate — many of us are also forced to prioritize the urgent over the important but less urgent.

All this is to say we want to appreciate it all the more when the cops do a good job. We’re certain they do good jobs every single day, but this particular good job stood out.

Late last week (the story is in today’s paper), the Craig Press reported that CPD had arrested a man they believed to be not just responsible for the crimes with which he was immediately charged, but also a string of car break-ins that had troubled many in the community.

We’ll keep an eye on the story, but it’s a feather in the cap of the cops if indeed this crime spree has been brought to an end.

It’s a tough time to be in law enforcement. We hear it, we feel it, and we’re concerned about it. Few of us disagree that increased accountability, better training and improved monitoring of police activity doesn’t help keep us all safer. But whatever you think of the police — here or universally — it shouldn’t be controversial to suggest communities are better when police forces are appropriately staffed and equipped.

It’s a tough problem to solve. In Craig, we have little control over the levers that we’re told are making hiring law enforcement so hard. We trust that those who do have some power of their own in local government are doing what they can to give our community the best chance at continued and improved public safety. But outside of that, this is the new reality at the moment.

So what can we do? Basically this, we suppose. There are some good young officers on both forces, and we’re grateful to them for their good hard work. We continue to demand high bars for our law enforcement, but we also want to appreciate those we have that strive to meet that level of quality day-in and day-out in order to keep us safe.

That’s probably not enough, but we hope it helps, anyway. Thanks to our police, our sheriff and his deputies, and all others who work to keep Craig and Moffat County great. Thanks for doing more with less, and here’s to that uncomfortable dynamic changing for the better as soon as possible.

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