LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) – The Huntington Police force has been down two officers for two years. Now, with a full force, they hope to cut crime and create a safer future for the community.
Budget constraints cut the number of officers on the force at Huntington P.D.
"People out in the criminal world knowing that we're short-handed. I think they were hitting us at times they knew no one else is available," said Chief Stephen Sifford, Huntington Police Department.
This week - the department is once again fully-staffed.
"We've been ready to get 24-hour coverage and take care of the city," said Sifford.
Both of the newly hired officers have prior law enforcement experience. Jimmy Marball spent four years in the army before graduating from the police academy last December. This job is a dream come true.
"Growing up as a kid, I had two goals: one, being in the military, and the other, be a police officer," said Jimmy Marball, New Officer.
The Chief hopes the larger police presence in Huntington will not only deter crime, but also make citizens feel safer.
"They feel more secure when they know an officer is coming by at night," said Sifford.
The new police officers want to reach out to the community. They say strong relationships between law enforcement and citizens is essential.
The new officers encourage and welcome folks coming up and introducing themselves.
Officer Marball can't wait to patrol the streets of Huntington.
"I just want to get out there and do the job: protect the people who need protection and put the other ones in jail," said Marball.
Chief Sifford said he and his other two officers are exhausted after working 60 to 80 hour weeks while they were understaffed.
With the new officers they will have 24-hour patrols.