Havre Daily News
Havre Mayor Bob Rice has asked Police Chief Mike Barthel to study the possibility of forming a reserve police force to assist Havre police officers.
Barthel said in an interview Thursday that he'd been asked not to fill a vacant position on the police force for a year and that a shortage in staffing has caused officer fatigue and concerns about safety. Barthel said his work force of 18 officers has been given little or no time off over the summer because of the staffing shortage.
Rice said Thursday night he was not aware of Barthel's concerns about officer and public safety.
Rice sent Barthel a memo Thursday, asking him to brief him on the reserve force by Oct. 1.
Barthel had said he raised his concerns with Rice during budget discussions.
"(Barthel) did not tell me he was concerned about the health and welfare of the community," Rice said Thursday night. "I don't remember what he said, but I know he didn't say that."
Officer and public safety are "very important" to him, Rice added.
In his memo, Rice wrote that he wants "immediate notification" if there is ever concern for the safety and welfare of city residents, or if any officer is deemed to be fatigued or unfit for duty.
He also requested a daily update of the department's calls and a copy of the officers' assigned duties.
"I'm going to follow the mayor's requests," Barthel said Thursday night.