Police office shortage latest problem to plague Pacific

PACIFIC, Wash. -- The town of Pacific is facing a new crisis: a police officer shortage.

The police chief is now on medical leave due to stress, and says the mayor is to blame.

In 2010, the Pacific Police Department had 11 officers. Now the force is down to just four officers, one of whom is ready to jump ship.

While the police force is dwindling, some say the town's crime is rising.

Surveillance video captured two burglars breaking into a Pacific restaurant this week. They scurried around, looking for cash. They eventually fled, empty-handed, before police arrived.

The incident was the first time the restaurant has been hit in its nine years of business. But the owner worries the eatery may now be more vulnerable to crime due to recent police cuts.

"It tells me the preventative measures that were in place when we had enough officers were working," said restaurant owner Tracey Apata.

Since departures and retirements left the department with just four officers, those remaining have been working long overtime shifts.

Pacific Police Officer Mike Kim says he has been working "more than I've worked pretty much anywhere else."

"I'm just really tired," Kim said.

The shortage is compounded by the absence of Pacific Police Chief John Calkins, who just recently took medical leave under doctor's orders due to stress.

"It's related pretty much to the stress created by the mayor," Calkins said.

Calkins, a non-smoker, had throat cancer several years ago and breathes through an opening in his throat. But his condition doesn't prevent him from voicing his opinions about Pacific Mayor Cy Sun.

"I think it's very obvious he has a vendetta against the police department," the police chief said.

When asked to comment, the mayor said, "I don't want to talk with you, because you're an (expletive)."

Asked to elaborate, Sun added, "I said, 'you're an asset."' The mayor referred KOMO News to his blog, which states no new police officers will be hired because they cost the city too much money.

The restaurant who fell victim to burglary is one of the leaders of the recall effort against the mayor.