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Chief makes pitch for 9 additional Manteca officers

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POSTED February 11, 2013 12:01 a.m.

Manteca Police Chief Nick Obligacion has given the City Council his wish list - nine more police officer positions, two dispatchers and two community service officers.

Obligacion presented his long-term staffing needs to the council during the mid-year budget review on Thursday.

Currently the department has 63 sworn officers including command staff. There are 26 non-sworn employees including four part-time workers.

The positions the chief hopes to staff in the coming years plus why they are needed is as follows:

•Two more patrol officers.

That would bring patrol staffing to 33 officers. It would allow the department to maintain current staffing levels. It would also reduce excess overtime forced by vacation, holidays, and mandated training.

•Two more dispatchers.

It would bring the rank of dispatchers to 12. Current call volume and the addition of the Gang Suppression Unit are impacting the capabilities of the current dispatching staff.

•Four officers for special assignment.

One officer would be added to traffic, one to the Streets Crime Unit, one to the Gang Suppression Unit and the other to detectives. Traffic officers are now having a difficult time keeping up with the requests for specific enforcement. While they do respond, time in each area is limited. The streets crime unit currently handles some quality of life issues at a time such as narcotics. An additional officer would allow the creation of two teams. An additional gang officer would broaden the unit’s impact. Another detective would bring the assigned follow-up caseload to a more manageable level. Priority is given to cases where those suffering the worst as victims are addressed first. Low-level cases are still being investigated but there is a significant backlog.

•Two school resource officers.

There is no school resource officer assigned to feeder schools although reserves officers are now being used thanks to funding from community service groups. The addition of two officers would bring the SRO ranks up to six.

•Services division lieutenant.

Currently all three investigation sergeants for detectives, the gang unit, and street crimes report directly to the services division captain as do both dispatch supervisors, records supervisors and code enforcement supervisor. As a result of the load, the investigation units tend to run autonomously much of the time.

The request for additional positions will be taken into account during budgeting for the fiscal year starting July 1.

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