ORANGE PARK, Fla. -- Overworked, understaffed and therefore, under fire.
The Orange Park Police Department is now an unaccredited police department. It apparently failed to file the proper paperwork on time.
The Chief said a lack of manpower is behind the unaccredited department and they may not have enough officers to keep you safe.
Chief Gary Goble is talking to First Coast News to explain why the department did not get re-accredited.
Orange Park residents were heated about their unaccredited police department when First Coast News first reported on this story last week.
"The department should just give a reason why not or just go ahead and do it," said resident Tony Pulaski.
But with a 22-person staff, Orange Park Police Chief Gary Goble said his officers wear multiple hats and do more than simply patrol the streets.
"Our property custodian is also our D.A.R.E. officer is also our red light viewer. Plus, she writes grants," Goble said.
The Orange Park Police Department is short-staffed and has been for the last four years after losing one officer in 2009 and a second who transferred out of the department in 2010
The positions remained empty until recently, with two new recruits now assigned to the squad.
But because they're still in training, the OPPD won't be fully staffed until August or September.
"Two men down for a small department. That's 10 percent of my workforce. The accreditation is time consuming and somebody has to do it," Goble said.
Back when Chief Goble was Sergeant Goble, he was in charge of the accreditation documents and he said it took 30 to 40 hours a week just to keep up with the paperwork associated with the commission for Florida Law Enforcement Accreditation.
"If you don't have enough people to spend the time for training, then over time, your capabilities are going to decrease and you're going to do not as good of a job and we're all going to suffer," said Orange Park resident Wayne Middleton.
Despite the loss of its accreditation, Goble said the department still meets 250 standards that include safety, internal audits and evidence handling guidelines.
First Coast News