Mullins Police Department seeks help from neighboring agency amidst staffing issues

Published: Jan. 16, 2023 at 9:07 PM EST
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MULLINS, S.C. (WMBF) - It’s not always easy to ask for help, but Mullins Police Department Captain Phil Mostowski knew it was the department’s only choice.

The department has been dealing with staffing issues as there are not enough officers for patrol and those who are available are being overworked.

“The limited staff I have because they’re working so much and overworked, they were actually talking about leaving as well,” said Mostowski.

In 24 years of law enforcement, Mostowski has seen a lot of change, and he’s hoping the department’s most recent change isn’t a long-term one.

Mostowski said because of the shortage, for the time being, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office has been assisting the department with calls within the city limits.

“I know they are covering the city so any calls that come out, they are responding to those calls for us, and that started 7 p.m. Wednesday,” said Mostowski.

But reaching out to the Marion County Sheriff’s Office wasn’t the first thing the department did to try to help its officers.

Months before Jan. 11, Mullins police switched its day shift patrol officers to night shift, and took two detectives off their cases, moving them to patrols, those changes happened in mid-April

According to Mostowski, investigations were being worked on, but not to the extent they should have been worked on for eight months.

One officer is also currently on leave while another is on light duty due to a car crashing into Yummy Yummy Hibachi, and hitting the officer, this past November.

Last month, the department decided to cut two full-time officer positions.

Mostowski said they just couldn’t fill them. With the extra money from the cut positions, every remaining position in the department received a $5,000 raise.

“You’re treading water and treading water you can only tread water for so long and that was the point we felt like we were at,” said Mostowski.

But Mostowski said things are looking up. The agreement with the sheriff’s office allows for at least two patrol officers to be on day shift and detectives to go back to investigations to catch up on the backlog.

Mostowski also said four more recruits should graduate from the academy and work full-time for Mullins Police Department within the next two months.

“The sheriff’s department has stepped up so it’s not like the city is left empty as far as not protected or if there’s an issue, it’s not like someone is not going to respond, and we just need a chance to reset,” said Mostowski.