LANCASTER, SC (WBTV) - The Lancaster Police Department is coming off a long period of time where it was short-staffed, and Police Chief Scott Grant is hoping the extra help will allow them to be more proactive in their work.
"At one point we had 14 vacancies," Chief Grant said. "So we were working our people to death."
The department should have 39 sworn officers to be fully staffed, but Chief Grant says they've been shorthanded for so long many of his sergeants and lieutenants do not know what it is like to work with a full shift. However, by the end of the week Chief Grant says all 39 positions will be filled.
"As we get these officers in place, you'll be seeing them more in the community," Chief Grant said. "I'm a firm believer in foot patrol, bike patrol, getting ingrained into the community until you're part of it."
He says because the officers have to go through the Police Academy and field training before going out on their own, it will be some time before they feel the effects of the entire staff.
When they do, he hopes to get more of his officers out in the community, like in the recently opened satellite station at Springs Memorial Hospital.
"It's another way to interact with the people, there's a lot of folks going in and out of that hospital on a daily basis," Chief Grant said.
While it gives officers a second office and work station in the center of the city, it also provides a measure of safety to the hospital staff.
When the satellite station opened in August, the hospital was going on lockdown about twice a week from treating shooting and stabbing victims.
"It can be terrifying, we all went into this business to help people and to make people better and you never think of your own safety," Chief Nursing Officer Brian Grieg said.