Public Safety Officers Racing to Keep Up With the Boom

Nick Lawton
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND - Take a look around anywhere in the Basin and chances are you'll see construction sites. Development is bustling along and that's causing public safety officers to run just as fast and it's taxing them.

"We're very busy now," Midland Assistant Fire Marshal, David Hickman, said. "I've been in the fire service 30 years. I've been in this office 12 years and this is the busiest that we've ever been."

"It's pretty tight," Midland County Sheriff, Gary Painter, said. "It's pretty tight. We don't have enough people to do the job that we need to do."

These officers work hand-in-hand with development, doing jobs behind-the-scenes and they're struggling to keep up.

Seven Midland firefighters pore over piles of building plans before any ground breaks.

They see between 5-10 heavy rolls of plans come through the fire department every week.

"How do we get fire trucks up to this building?" Hickman said. "Fire access, hydrants, water supply. We do a very in-depth, detailed plan review to make sure those systems are installed correctly."

The Midland County Sheriff's Office is rushing to keep up with inspecting every new trailer park popping up.

"You look around and there's five or six trailers set up over here and there's seven or eight over here," Painter said. "They're coming up everywhere."

But officers aren't fighting crime there, they're fighting for our water.

"Flushing their septics down into a hole that's just been drilled in the ground," Painter said. "That will pollute the water system and the water table. We've had that happen."

Working through full plates of battling blazes and cutting down crime, officers will keep trying to make sure public safety stays neck-and-neck with growth.