Council approves hiring five Community Service Officers

Publisher’s Note: We apologize for the delay in posting this article. We thought it had been posted last month. But, due to our main computer’s hard drive going down, it wasn’t. However it was published in the October print edition of the Herald.

By James Ott

The City of Antioch has updated its budget projections through 2014-15 and has included six new hires in the police services division among its estimates.

At their meeting on Tuesday, September 25, the City Council approved hiring five new Community Service Officers, (CSO’s), as a result of the federal COPS grant, and a Human Resources Director for the police department.

The CSO’s – which the council eliminated all of the positions two years ago – do administrative tasks in the department, freeing up sworn officers who can spend more time on the street.

The Antioch Police Department is also in the process of filling the 13 other vacant officer positions that were approved and funded by the city. According to Police Chief Allan Cantando they are currently in the process of background checking 13 potential candidates.

This is the direction we need to be heading to improve safety in Antioch, “ said Councilman Gary Agopian.

The impact of the five new positions to the budget estimates by city Finance Director Dawn Merchant is expected to be roughly $405,955 by the 2014-15 fiscal year. Police services as a whole though shows projected increases of $2,611,840 from fiscal year 2012-13 to fiscal year 2013-14 and $1,482,233 between 2013-14 and 2014-15 for a total three year increase of $4,094,073.

This is the only projected major increase in the budget according to a city staff report. That’s because the Council has made hiring police its major focus. The estimates, particularly from fiscal year 2014-15 are listed as early preliminary estimates.

Despite those estimates coming somewhat early the city is expecting to be operating in a deficit of over $2 million in 2012-13, $5.4 million in 2013-14 and $6.3 million. The projections for fiscal year 2014-15 however, assume little to no revenue increases.

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