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Manteca plans to add 3 more police officers
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Manteca has 78 police officers.

Is that enough?

Most seem to say it isn’t.

But what staffing level should the City of Manteca aim for when it comes to sworn police officer positions?

Police Chief Steve Schluer believes it should by 60-40.

The two numbers are shorthand for the overall time of front-line police being tied up responding to calls 60 percent of the rime.

The other 40 percent is “free time” or more precisely time that is devoted to patrolling or pro-active policing.

Schluer is correct in noting that there is no official standard per se based regarding officers per 1,000 residents from either the federal or state government or even professional organizations.

That said, many law enforcement agencies have generally worked toward a one officer per 1,000 residents staffing level.

“(Agencies) are getting away from that,” Schluer said during Wednesday’s City Council budget workshop conducted at the Manteca Transit Center.

The upcoming budget will increase the number of officers from 78 to 81.

Nine officers short by those championing a rigid yardstick but not maybe as much short based on need and practical objectives in terms of public safety.

The 60-40 approach is more reflective of local nuances and needs.

Staffing is deemed basically “just right” when a police department can consistently hit 60 percent of the time being “tied” up on calls and 40 percent of the time having “free time” committed to patrolling and proactive policing.

As such, Schluer wants the city to strive for officer staffing that accomplishes just that.

But it is not quite as clear cut.

Software programs analyzing officers’ times reflect that overall 57.5 percent of the time police are tied up on calls and 42.5 percent of the time they have “free time.”

If you breaks it out by shift, the numbers change.

*53 percent of a graveyard shift officers’ time is spent answering calls,

*59 percent of a swing shift officers’ time is spent answering calls.

*62 percent of the day shift officers’ rime is spent answering calls.

By such a yardstick, Manteca is in the ballpark in terms of police staffing but can use more officers during the day.

But there is also another number that is part of the staffing equation — response time.

Between March 1, 2023 and Sept. 28, 2023, the Manteca Police between dispatch to arrival on scene responded to calls in an average of:

*5 minutes and 37 seconds to 115 Priority 1 calls.

*9 minutes and 34 seconds to 19,923 Priority 2 calls.

*14 minutes to 10,041 Priority 3 calls.

“Three to five minutes is a good response time to Priority 1 calls,” Schluer said.

Priority 1 calls are crimes in progress that could also include a possible threat to life. And that could include a burglary call of someone who has broken into a home.

At the other end of the spectrum, Priority 3 calls are low-level crimes that have already occurred.

Typically, they involve a sizable number of crimes that are misdemeanors that could be reported online although callers prefer an officer to respond.

And just because they are reported online, doesn’t mean they aren’t handled by an officer.


Department staffing

Currently, Manteca Police have 78 budgeted positions.

That is only one position that still needs to be filled.

That said, two officers are out currently due to medical and maternity reasons.

The city will be adding three more officers this year thanks, in part, to a federal grant to help hire five more officers over the next three years.

That means with 12 months, Manteca will have 81 police officers

And by the end of 2026, there will be at least 83 officers.

Of the current 78 officers:

*36 are assigned to patrols.

*21 are detectives.

*9 are sergeants.

*5 are part of the command structure.

*3 are in training.

*1 is at the police academy.


To contact Dennis Wyatt, email