Forget the fancy charts and the complicated graphs — the message was simple.
The number of felonies since Police Chief Nick Obligacion has taken over the Manteca Police Department in 2011 has dropped significantly.
And when you look at the number of officers that Manteca has on the street at any one given time, it can surpass the number that Stockton has patrolling its streets — and Manteca is less than one-third of the size of the city to the north.
According to Obligacion, on a weekend shift crossover there can be as many as 14 officers and 2 sergeants out on the streets at any given time — spread out in sectors and responding to calls for service as they come in. That peak staffing has allowed the police department to keep its response time for Priority 1 calls – those where life or major property are in danger – under five minutes.
But that doesn’t mean its okay to leave your front door unlocked and your keys in your car.
On Thursday Obligacion was the guest of the Manteca TEA Party Patriots meeting at Angelano’s restaurant and shared some stats that were somewhat head-scratching not just for the capacity crowd but even for the chief.
While he had the graphs and the charts, one thing that Obligacion pointed out was that during his tenure the number of citations issued has been down while the number of accidents has risen. It is a direct correlation, he says, to a decline in the number of traffic officers in the unit that were transferred back to patrol when downsizing went into place.
But the number of arrests have puzzlingly gone down during the same timeframe. That’s even with the implementation of AB 109 – the prison realignment bill which was supposed to make space at the San Joaquin County Jail hard to come by and kick low-risk offenders back out onto the street.
Bad guys, however, are taking more risks.
Since Obligacion has taken over the department, use of force and the number of pursuits have also increased – two categories, he said, that both have connotations associated with them but can be as simple as somebody running away when an officer attempts to make contact. Once tackled to the ground, a use-of-force form has to be submitted.
“I think that it shows what they’re mindset is right now,” Obligacion said. “They’re willing to take those kids of chances.”
The largely supportive crowd had a handful of questions about procedures and policy and what to do in certain situations. Obligacion received wide support from the crowd the group that he has visited several times to speak on a variety of different topics.