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Manteca won’t drop below 55 police officers

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POSTED October 20, 2009 5:11 a.m.

Police Chief Dave Bricker has secured assurance from City Manager Steve Pinkerton that Manteca’s Police staffing will not drop below 55 sworn officers.

Bricker said that if more than five officers retire in the coming months that they will be replaced.

The staffing strategy that Bricker implemented last Saturday after 12 police officers were laid off takes into account the five retirements. He said it would be impossible to go below 55 officers and maintain the current street presence. The police chief emphasized that 55 is the minimum staffing that will be allowed – if it comes to that.

Bricker has repeatedly said the department’s No. 1 priority is patrol staffing to be able to respond to emergencies and other high priority crimes.

Bricker had high praise for the officers in the department who have had their ranks slashed from 72 officers to 60.

“They are not letting up,” Bricker said.

The police chief noted that the department is in the process of conducting their quarterly visits to sex offenders to let them know that the Manteca Police are keeping an eye on them.

Patrol services remain at
or near previous levels

Bricker shuffled around officers to maintain what he called the department’s “core service” – patrol operations – at our near current levels.

The reorganization took into account the anticipated retirements in the coming months of up to five officers in addition to the 12 layoffs.

The department continues to respond as they have in the past. Prior to Oct. 10, there were six sergeant sand 36 officers assigned to patrol. Now there are seven sergeants and 33 officers.

The heaviest call days – Friday, Saturday, and Sunday – continue to have the same level of officers on the street. One less officer will be on duty on week days when the call level drops off somewhat.

The seventh sergeant will work as relief to reduce overtime of supervisorial personnel.

When the next two retirements of patrol personnel take place, the additional reduction will be made from one week day officer on each of the day and swing shifts where support from community service offices, street crimes, traffic, detectives, and school resource officers is available.    

The gang unit up until Oct. 10 had one sergeant and four officers while narcotics had one sergeant and five officers. That force of 12 was reduced and combined into a streets crime unit of one sergeant and three detectives.

Two of those detectives plan on retiring, two returned to patrol, one lost their job, and one was be assigned to the school resource unit (Measure M position dedicated to gang intervention). He replaced the elementary school resource officer allowing that officer to be returned to patrol.  This resulted in a significant decrease in proactive gang and drug enforcement, but is  sufficient to investigate major cases and provide patrol and detectives with the necessary technical support.

Before Oct. 10 Manteca had a detective division with one sergeant and seven detectives. It was reduced down to one sergeant and four detectives.

This combined the fraud, forgery, auto theft, and burglary case loads that were assigned to different detectives and reduced that team by three. 

These detectives were returned to patrol.  This will result in a slower rate of follow up on property crimes but will not affect the timely investigation of violent or sex crimes or crimes against children.  

The traffic division went from one sergeant and four officers down to two officers. The sergeant and two officers were reassigned to patrol.

That eliminated weekend traffic officers and significantly reduced proactive traffic enforcement and hit–and-run follow up investigations.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, e-mail dwyatt@mantecabulletin.com

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