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CALLS UP 24.9% SINCE 2014

Manteca adds only one police officer in 3 years

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CALLS UP 24.9% SINCE 2014

Manteca Police are handling more calls with the same number of officers in 2008.

Bulletin file photo/


POSTED February 14, 2018 1:41 a.m.

 Manteca Police in 2017 handled 24.9 percent more calls for service than in 2014 despite lower level issues being shifted to online reporting.
Police handled 42,069 calls for service last year compared to 33,683 in 2014. Meanwhile the city added just one officer as the city grew by more than 4,500 residents.
The jump comes after a five-year stretch from 2010 to 2015 of annual calls for service fluctuating between 33,031 for the lowest year and 34,517 for the highest.
What’s more telling, however, is what the calls entail. While crime generally per 1,000 residents has been on a downward track there has been a numeric increase in crime incidents plus a significant upswing in warrants served typically requiring multiple officers based on the nature of the crime involved. There were 1,683 warrants served in 2017 for a 39.8 percent over 2014 levels and a 23.57 percent over 2016.
Warrants, like calls for service, had been fairly even from 2010 to 2014 ranging from 1,087 to 1,258 annually.
Written reports — that typically take officers’ time away from patrolling — were are up 11.9 percent in 2017 reaching 7,445 compared to 6,653 in 2014. Officers have computers in their patrol units that allow them to write reports without having to do them all at the office. Even so, officers typically have to catch up on report writing due to call volume.
The surge in demand for services is putting a strain on Manteca Police resources that has 66 authorized sworn police positions. The city added its first additional sworn officer position in three years in June when the current budget was adopted.
Police Chief Jodie Estarziau said at a council meeting earlier this month that recruiting for officers with experience to replace those that have retired has pitted Manteca against other cities offering up to $20,000 in signing bonuses.
The 2008-2009 city budget had funding for 83 sworn officers including 11 from the half cent public safety tax. However due to vacancies and lag time that has traditionally been built into the hiring system, Manteca never filled all 83 positions. The funding for those positions were consumed by overspending throughout the general fund with revenues plummeting due to the Great Recession with income exceeding expenditures as the city cannibalized reserves to balance the budget.
The city has concentrated on restoring reserves to 25 percent to cushion against another downtown.
In the past when a new position was budgeted, the city typically waited until half way through the fiscal year before allowing departments to fill positions. The Great Recession’s impacts hit Manteca as 2008-2009 unfolded. By the 2011-2012 fiscal year the city had dropped to 55 sworn officers when 12 officers were laid off due to budget cuts.
It took Manteca seven years to restore the positions that were actually filled. They have yet, however, to match the 2008-2009 budget that allowed for 83 officers.
At the June 12 budget hearing, Councilman Mike Morowit proclaimed staffing levels must be pumped up noting, “To me it isn’t right not to add officers as that is the number one complaint I hear from citizens that we need more police.”
The council at that budget workshop said they wanted to consider possibly adding a 67th officer when the mid-year budget update is made on general fund revenue and spending trends. That typically takes place this month.
Police Chief Estarziau had requested four additional police officers in addition to other personnel but city management staff — with the council’s concurrence — declined to fund three of the four officers requested in the current budget.
The budget — when looked at as a whole — also has other staffing deficiencies that the city has yet to recover from recession cutbacks such as the street crew that was slashed in half.
The spending plan for 2017-2018 has 66 sworn positions including 15 funded by the public safety tax. Manteca’s population in 2009 was just over 66,000 residents. Today Manteca is at 77,000. That is 11,000 more residents with 17 less authorized sworn police officers.
Cities typically aim for one officer per 1,000 residents. Using that yardstick, Manteca is short 11 officers.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email dwyatt@mantecabulletin.com

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