BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The Baltimore City Police Department continues to grapple with staffing shortages, but change is on the way.

The department announced that it will allow for more officers on the streets.

Interim Police Commissioner Gary Tuggle said that they will now have an additional 17 officers patrolling.

“The old schedule we were only able to schedule 50 percent of our assesses,” Tuggle said. “With the new schedule, we’re now able to schedule 66 percent, or two-thirds, of that patrol workforce.”

Tuggle said that they implemented the change on Sunday.

With the addition, there will now be 423 officers patrolling the streets.

But Tuggle said that the department still needs more.

“We are understaffed across the board,” he said. “You can’t hide that, it’s evidence. We are literally robbing Peter to pay Paul.”

Tuggle also said that the Baltimore City Police Department receives about 81 applications for patrol officers a week, but because of shortages, they are struggling with conducting proper background checks on potential candidates.

“We do the background investigations for the other city agencies,” Tuggle said. “So I’m going to be suspending those investigations for at least six months until we can get through the background investigations within our own agencies.”

Tuggle said that the background investigation process takes roughly four to six months, so by focusing on their own department, they can eventually add more officers to the streets.

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Kelsey Kushner

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