A staff of 20 officers now serves the city of Holly Springs, which has, in Cherokee County fashion, ballooned to more than twice its size in the past decade, settling in at about 10,000 citizens.
Ball said Thursday that is causing his department issues.
Naturally, he said, “As the population increases, the calls (for police) increase.”
He’s asking for three new full-time and two part-time officers to be added in the next 24 months. This would take the force back to 25 officers, as it was before the economic downturn in recent years. Starting salary for a Holly Springs police officer is about $45,000 after benefits.
City Manager Rob Logan agrees that a need exists for more officers, but said that Ball’s hope for five might not be in the cards.
“I know that we may be able to look at adding one in our 2014 budget,” he said. Any more than that, he said he doesn’t see possible in Ball’s timeframe.
That would leave the city with only 21 officers on staff by the time Wal-Mart, which will be across Interstate 575 from Prominence Point, opens toward the end of 2014.
Ball projected the new store could drastically increase calls for police assistance.
Ball expects thefts from cars in the parking lot, accidents in the parking lot and shoplifting to cause problems for his department.
“With growth comes additional problems,” he said.
One of these problems Ball said he’s trying to avoid is increases in police response time on priority calls which need assistance more quickly than some others.
In recent years, response times from Holly Springs Police Department have increased to roughly between 5 and 8 minutes for priority calls.
Ball said these numbers are too high.
“I’d like for it to stay in a 5 minute window,” he said.
Response times are expected to continue their uptick without the addition of new officers, Ball said.