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Police may add 4 positions
Effort to increase patrol presence on streets
MPD CARS3-5-16-15-LT
Manteca Police officer April Smith inside the departments newest patrol unit. - photo by HIME ROMERO

Manteca’s Police force will add a police officer, a community service officer, a booking officer and an administrative assistant under the proposed $33 million municipal general fund budget for the fiscal year starting July 1.

It will increase the number of sworn officers from 65 to 66. It will bring the community service officers staffing to five and double the number of booking officers to two.

The booking officer will help free up existing patrol officers from having to process  suspects that are arrested which means they will be able to spend more time on the street patrolling and responding to calls for service. There were 603 arrests last year that involved processing suspects and then driving them to French Campo to book into the county jail. 

Currently the one booking officer works the day shift. He also does other things that do not require a full-scale officer that is paid more such as the detail targeting homeless encampment clean-up and supervising county community service crews to do the actual labor. A second booking officer would save either graveyard or night shift officers from having to book a suspect and — when appropriate — drive them to the county jail. Booking an arrested suspect can take an officer off the streets for several hours during a shift.

Ultimately Police Chief Nick Obligacion would like to add three additional three community service officers— including the one position in the proposed budget — that would be split with two helping handle 45 percent of the cold class the department receives where there are no suspects on scene. Two more CSOs in the field would relive patrol officers to be more proactive within their assigned beats. The third CSO would be assigned to property. There are 55,000 individual pieces of property and evidence that must be maintained and accounted for. The job is currently assigned to existing CSOs when needed. Often times it involves retrieving evidence that an office needs for a court appearance.

The additional personnel represents four of the 15 of the positions Obligacion indicated he would like to see added to the department as money becomes available.

The budget also includes general fund coverage of the cost of a captain that is currently covered by  a public safety endowment  fund from  bonus bucks paid in exchange for sewer allocation certainty for home builders. The endowment fund is expected to be depleted 2020.

When Obligacion made his staffing proposal to the council at a budget review meeting in January, he said it was designed “to start as if it is a clean slate.”

The department currently has 65 sworn officers and 27 non-sworn personnel including 11 dispatchers, 4 community service officers, 6 records personnel, a booking officer, 2 code enforcement officers, and 3 animal control officers.