Cheyenne Police Chief Brian Kozak says his department is understaffed compared to a few years ago, and says the problem is likely to get worse in view of the budget challenges being faced by the city.

Kozak says the Cheyenne Police Department is currently understaffed by 11 officers if the ratio of police to the population in Cheyenne from six years ago were to be maintained.

The chief says because the city keeps growing and because of annexations, the shortage is likely to grow to 18 officers in about two years.

Mayor Rick Kaysen is asking for funding to add two police officers in his proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2017, which begins on July 1, 2016.

The economic downturn that has hit Wyoming hs resulted in a decrease in state money for local governments. Cheyenne has also seen some decrease in sales tax revenues, although those numbers aren't down by nearly as much as in some other Wyoming communities such as Gillette and Casper.

The chief says he hopes city leasers will try to address the shortage of officers in the future, although he admits they can only spend the money that is available to them and may not be able to hire as many officers as they would like.