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Columbia turns to detective to fill patrol shifts

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COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) _ Detectives are working police patrol shifts in Columbia to make up for a short-handed patrol force.

The Columbia Daily Tribune reports ( department leaders last week began trying to fill daytime coverage gaps by having detectives work patrol shifts.

Columbia police Assistant Chief John Gordon says two detectives per day Sundays through Thursdays are shifting their duties from investigating crimes to answering calls for service and patrolling parts of the city. Detectives will offer to patrol on days based on what’s best for their existing caseloads.

The department is budgeted for 169 officers in the fiscal year 2017 budget, and 106 of those are patrol positions. Police Chief Ken Burton told the Columbia City Council Monday the department has 17 vacancies, and six officers aren’t working because of injuries