West El Paso rapid growth creates challenges for police

    West El Paso rapid growth, creates challenges for Police

    It's no secret that east El Paso has been fast-growing for years. But officials said the westside isn't far behind.

    This could be a challenge for police.

    With all the growth that the West Side is seeing, police said they're trying to keep up with the staff they have to keep everyone safe.

    But it's not so easy.

    West El Paso is a part of the city that's growing more than some might realize until they stop and truly think about it.

    "A lot, actually. It's really grown," said Laurie Chavira, who lives in west El Paso.

    CBS 4 asked those out and about on Saturday, about the police presence they've noticed.

    "You know the police presence is good. I kind of wish they directed traffic a little bit better," said Chavira. "You don't really see much of them out here in the parking lots, in the areas where you're shopping and what-not."

    Chelsea Gallegos who lives in west El Paso, said she's noticed similar things.

    "There's a police station close to here, and still there's not a lot of police around," said Gallegos.

    Both agree the West Side is safe, but said having police close by is important.

    "That's what commander Lopez has for the west side," said an El Paso police officer. "That goes from Stanton all the way to the city limits."

    Officials said the west side itself has its own challenges -- one being mountains. Officials said mountains make it more difficult for patrolling.

    For 96 square miles, officials said there are 82 patrol officers for 137,000 people on the West Side.

    We're told these officers make up 30 per-shift, working four days a week for 10 hours.

    "We're working on a 20-year Master Plan with the police department," said a city official.

    City-wide, officials said they are working to come up with a comprehensive plan to help keep up with growth -- having more officers on the street.

    Police said when dealing with calls with the officers available, the goal is to respond in less than 10 minutes, and calls are prioritized based off an individual's quality of life.

    "It's just busy, but not bad," said Gallegos.

    For now, west-siders said they feel safe overall, but would like to have more protection down the road.

    Officials said El Paso, overall, is short 90 officers. According to officials, they're working to build those numbers with the two academies per-year.

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