Sunday, January 12, 2003

Guard call-ups affect local police agencies



The Associated Press

COLUMBUS - National Guard units being called up for a possible war with Iraq could have an effect on law enforcement in Ohio.

Law enforcement professionals say the nation's police forces have a disproportionate number of employees serving in the reserves, so those agencies suffer disproportionate staffing shortages in times of national emergency.

In the state patrol, filling vacancies with temporary replacements is not feasible because troopers first must complete a year of intense training, said Col. Kenneth Morckel, the patrol's superintendent. Also, federal law entitles reservists to re-employment when they return.

Military call-ups also would cause problems for the state's prison system, said Peter Wray of the Ohio Civil Service Employees Association.

The union, which represents Ohio's 7,500 prison guards, said many of its members already are working double shifts to make up for vacancies caused by state budget cutbacks.




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