PEA RIDGE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – The city of Pea Ridge is looking to hire full-time paramedics in response to a staffing shortage.

Mayor Jackie Crabtree said it has been a struggle to hire paramedics for well over a year now, but the city realized how big of a problem it really is when only one volunteer EMT was able to respond to Officer Kevin Apple the day he was hit and killed.

“Sometimes the volunteers are a little bit short here, as far as getting here and getting everything staffed,” he said. “These three would make sure we have the staff on and here.”

Crabtree said the city originally applied for a grant that would eventually allow them to hire full-time paramedics, ut after relocating some funds, it is now able to do so right away.

The mayor said the day Officer Apple was killed still weighs on his heart because he knows if it would have been up to EMT to perform the lifesaving techniques that day, they might have been understaffed to do so.

“Nationwide there is a shortage of EMTs and paramedics,” Crabtree said. “I don’t know if its Covid or what. It’s a tough job.”

Crabtree said he expects to have those paramedics hired by the end of the summer and the city has already started taking applications.