Criminal justice experts from throughout the county met with more than 50 Lake Havasu City residents this weekend for a symposium hosted by Arizona State University.
The Saturday symposium, “Criminal Justice System in an Ever Changing 21st Century,” covered a variety of issues county and local law enforcement, the court system and probation departments face.
Panel members had a unifying answer on what their greatest challenge is – funding.
Elected in November, Mohave County Sheriff Doug Schuster said covering 13,000 square miles with the amount of money his department receives presents problems.
“We have a tremendous problem maintaining staff because of compression issues,” Schuster said. “We have a core of deputies and that number is relatively low right now … and as time passes their rate of pay will not go up as it should.”
As veteran deputies pay remains stagnant, Schuster said, they choose to leave.
“It’s an epidemic problem,” he said. “The ultimate goal is to provide top notch law enforcement service to our citizens. That’s the goal, but in order to get there we need funding from the county board of (supervisors) and higher adequate staffing to make sure we get the job done.”
Lake Havasu Police Department Chief Dan Doyle agreed that funding and retention is always a struggle, but added the need for law enforcement to keep up with a technological society…