Kennewick has a record number of police officers after Chief Ken Hohenberg swore in the department's newest member Thursday.
It's the first time in nine years the Tri-City's largest police force is fully staffed. The agency now has 93 commissioned officers.
But it still is not enough for the size of the community, Hohenberg said.
"If we had the funding, I would like to see another 10 to 12 police officers in Kennewick," Hohenberg told the Herald. "We could maintain the level we are at and enhance our service levels when it comes to call response and being more timely on in-progress calls."
As the population in Kennewick has increased in the past decade -- by more than 17,000 from 2003-12 -- the number of officers in the department has fluctuated.
The department had to cut staff five years ago and slowly has built it back up, Hohenberg said.
The department has averaged 1.26 officers per 1,000 citizens in recent years compared with 1.56 per 1,000 in 2002, Hohenberg said.
"We did a study recently for the city council," Hohenberg said. "If we were to get back to the officer (to citizen) ratio that we used to have back in 2002, we would need 25 additional police officers to get to where we were."
The department recently filled five positions created when the city council authorized three new positions and the replacement of two people who retired, Hohenberg said.
The department last was fully staffed in 2004 when it had 92 officers.
The Pasco Police Department has about 75 commissioned officers and Richland has 58.
Although Hohenberg would like more officers to keep up with the ever-growing population, he is pleased that there now will be more officers patrolling Kennewick than ever before.
The four patrol squads, which rotate 12-hour shifts, will continue to work with the Criminal Apprehension Team and traffic officers to patrol the streets.
Hohenberg feels the new additions will help keep the crime rate from growing, he said.
"This is historic because in over 100 years ... this is the largest the police department has been authorized to have this many officers," Hohenberg said.
"This will allow us to put more resources out on the street and help us live up to our motto of 'committed to your safety.' "
The newest Kennewick police officer sworn in Thursday is Brooke Zimmerman from Florida.