By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Lathrop cuts police budget by 13.75%
Placeholder Image
LATHROP – Lean times for the Lathrop Police department has come down to this: janitorial services are being reduced to three times a week.

That will pare down $2,130 from the previous fiscal year’s $5,000 cleaning expenses. Along with other proposed budget decreases, the police department’s 2010-11 spending plan of $3,775,929 tentatively approved by the City Council on Monday is 13.75 percent less than the budget that was approved for the current fiscal year which ends on June 30.

In plain numbers, that fiscal nosedive represents a total of $601,399.

The police contract that was approved for 2009-10 was actually $4,377,328. However, with the city grappling with what started out to be a $2.5 million annual budget deficit for the next five years based on a five-year survival plan developed by city staff and members of the council, three deputy positions were unfunded with the officers being returned to the Sheriff’s Department which resulted in a police budget decrease of $107,328. After it was amended, the 2009-10 budget stood at $3,943,528.

The Friday furloughs introduced at City Hall across the board, plus the lay-off of one administrative assistant also resulted in a $58,645 budget savings for police.

Other financial budget bleeding in the police contract for the 2010-11 fiscal year include the following:

•Office supplies decreased from $6,000 to $4,800 as a result of the staff reductions.

•Printing expenses decreased from $5,600 to $2,325 due to printing fewer double-sided city newsletters that are mailed with the city water bill.

•River Islands police services going down from $384,531 to $324,250 since no vehicles are scheduled for replacement in the coming fiscal year.

Lathrop’s Police Services is comprised of 23 sworn officers and includes one captain (the police chief), one lieutenant, two sergeants, two detectives, and 17 deputy sheriffs. Three civilian staff who work in the office round out the total staff number to 26.

However, Police Chief Eric Holman explained to the council during Monday’s first day of budget hearings that his staff actually has only 14 active sworn officers because three of them are on special assignments such as community and school resource officials.

The actual police staff numbers fall a little bit short of the police staffing standard that was adopted in the city’s general plan which calls for 1.5 officers per 1,000 residents. With the current population of 17,969 which is based on information from the California Finance Department, the city would actually need 27 sworn officers on staff, according to the figures presented to the council during the budget discussion.

The budget report also indicated that Lathrop had a population increase of 9 percent in the three-year period from 2007 to 2009.

Lathrop’s police patrols a geographical area of 22 square miles, 10.1 square miles of which came as a result of the single annexation of the River Islands project west of the San Joaquin River in September of 2005.