CORPUS CHRISTI (KIII NEWS) - Many citizens appeared at last week's City Council meeting to express their shock and outrage over the shortage of personnel at both Corpus Christi's police and fire departments, but where does Council stand on the problem?
Michelle Eweing, a Corpus Christi native and mother of five, said this is no longer the city it was when she was growing up.
"Over the past 10 years our city has changed, and really for the worse," Eweing said. "I don't like going downtown, taking my children there. I'm scared someone is going to be waiting at my car asking for money. I am constantly looking over my shoulder making sure all the kids are right there with me."
Eweing believes a shortage of police officers is contributing to the unsafe feelings she now has in her hometown.
At a recent City budget workshop, both the police and fire chiefs told Council that for a city our size, both departments are understaffed. Corpus Christi Police Chief Mike Markle said he believes the Department is 125 officers short of where it needs to be.
So does Fire Chief Robert Rocha.
"Of the 22 fire trucks that the Fire Department has, 18 are only staffed with three personnel, four of them are staffed with four personnel," Rocha said. "The standard around the country and in the state of Texas is that every fire truck should have four firefighters."
Council members said the shortage needs to be a priority for the City.
"I don't think there's been a process, and I think that's the thing we've got to do right now is get a process and figure out how many we can afford," Councilmember Carolyn Vaughn said.
For residents like Eweing, it is all about keeping her kids and her family safe.
"I hate the fact that my nine-year-old daughter, when she goes to sleep, the last thing she asks me is, 'Did you set the alarm?'" Eweing said. "She is scared to death that someone is going to come out from our backyard and take her."
Council will be working on a new budget to take effect this fall.
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