Council approves temporary hiring of 110 police officers

APD currently has 86 full-duty officers working

By Allen Payton

During their Dec. 11 meeting the Antioch City Council agreed to temporarily increase the budget to allow for the hiring of six more officers than the 104 currently budgeted.

Antioch Police Chief Tammany Brooks said it will be “a temporary, but effective solution..in our attempt to reach full staffing of our police department.”

The department has hired 61 officers since     Measure C passed in 2013, but 44 officers have left the department either through retirement or other   reasons. But, only 10 of the additional 17 officers were funded by the sales tax revenue from the half-cent measure.

“The department is currently at 99 sworn officers,” he shared. The department has enough officers in the academy to reach the 104 in the current budget.

However, that figure includes six currently in a field training program.

“We have another seven who are unable to work due to injury” and other reasons, Brooks explained. “We only have 86 full-duty officers which includes me, all the way down to the latest officer we swore in, yesterday,”

“Working at this lower capacity puts a huge strain on the officers working,” he stated. “I don’t want to lose the people currently we have in the recruiting pipeline. It takes six months for the process “for them to become a sworn officer in our department”

The purpose of this is to overhire above the 104 authorized as a temporary measure,” Brooks reiterated.

Mayor Pro Tem Joy Motts said, “My thought process was with Measure W passing we would be allocating funds for hiring more police.”

“Does this change the budget allocation to 110? Is it temporary or permanent?” she asked.

“No. We won’t be at 104 until May,” City Manager Ron Bernal explained. “Currently we’re asking to make job offers to more than 104.”

“We’ve never reached that point in this fiscal year. We have salary savings to achieve that mark,” Brooks shared.

“This is essentially cost neutral from being at the 99,” Motts stated.

“That’s correct,” Brooks responded.

“The public are going to start seeing more officers on the street,” Councilwoman Monica Wilson stated. “I definitely would like to support that.”

“Attrition in the department…affects patrol” as personnel are promoted in rank,” Brooks explained. “That will allow us to put more officers on the street,” he added.

I pushed for 108 because 104 won’t get us to 104,” Mayor Sean Wright said. “I look forward to when we get to that 104th and we have a celebration. It’s been a long-time coming. It’s not been for a lack of trying.”

Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock then made a motion to approve the temporary budget increase to 110 officers and the council voted 4-0, with Councilman Lamar Thorpe absent.

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