Watchdog – Concerns with crime and police staffing in Antioch

Watchdog LogoBy Barbara Zivica

Mayor Wade Harper, who survived a recall petition which failed to gather sufficient signatures to qualify,  recently declined to comment about the city’s crime situation and the police chief told Council that crime in Antioch has declined in nearly every category.  The prroblem is, residents don’t agree.

In 2012, the police department had 88 officers which Police Chief Allan Cantando stated was the same staffing level as in 1995.   Council subsequently authorized a force of 102  and councilman Wade Harper decided to run for mayor telling constituents that he would hire 22 more officers, bringing the force to 124 sworn.  Folks know that never happened.

The police department, which is having a hard time keeping up with calls for service,  currently has a force of 88 officers, five of which are in various stages of the field training program and three police trainees, who will graduate from the Police Academy at the CCC Training Center in Pittsburg, next month.  According to my count, that would bring the department to a total of 91 officers, 11 short of the 102 authorized back in 2012.  Unfortunately, more officers are nearing retirement age and leaving the department which basically has been resulting in a zero net gain.

Recently, the police chief stated he’s having a hard time recruiting ideal candidates.  Wonder if it’s due to Antioch‘s declining reputation or the politics at City Hall?  It certainly can’t be the money.  A high school diploma, and a less than six-month police academy, can make you over $85,000, and as much as $104,000 a year, plus benefits.

Here’s the breakdown from the city web site:  Academy graduate/student full time, regular $7,134 – $8,672 monthly, Lateral police officer full time, Regular $7,134 – $8,672 monthly; Police trainee, Regular, hourly $21/hour.   No wonder the police department consumes 70% of the city’s general fund, not to mention lately over $600,000 from the water and sewer enterprise funds.

5 Comments to “Watchdog – Concerns with crime and police staffing in Antioch”

  1. Karl dietzel says:

    Thanks Barbara
    It’s a mystery to me why antioch can’t hire officers,
    San Jose swor in 25 officers, Oakland will hire
    300 officers, but antioch can’t hire 15?
    We the people gave the city measure c, measure
    O, the city also got 18% more n property taxes .
    There are the same excuses over and over.
    I wonder what else it takes until our elected officials,
    Which by the way run their campaigns on tuff
    On crime, also promised the hiring of 22 officers
    Immediately was the word.
    We’re now almost 2 years in, and still not even close
    To the 102 authorized and funded officers.

    It’s time that the council looks at the top 3 people
    In charge of the hiring, and set some sea lines.
    There has to be consequences if the people in charge
    Can’t do their job.
    Not even do we have not the officers, we also pay
    Over 2 million dollars on over time .
    It is irresponsible to work our cops so many hours.
    They need to go home to their families like
    Everybody else .

    Since we’re also way short on code enforcement
    And cso’s,
    Why don’t we hire 10 code enforcement officers,
    And all cso’s back?
    Hiring all cso’s back would free up 5-10 officers
    On the spot.

  2. Reginald Jamal Brown says:

    I said it before, safety is not the Mayor’s concern. He an talk until his face turns blue about safety as his priority but actions, or lack there of I this situation, speaks louder than words.

  3. Arne says:

    The Measure C (1/2-cent sales tax) and Measure O (Residential landlord Business License tax) have generated more than sufficient money for the city.

    If the city can’t hire police officers quickly, then it should be budgeting for and hiring 20 Community Service Officers (non-sworn) and 10 Code Enforcement Officers. Those positions can be filled far more quickly than the rigorous process to hire sworn police officers.

  4. Reginald Jamal Brown says:

    Hiring more officers and increasing safety in Antioch will be counterproductive toward the quality of life for our criminals, drug dealers, prostitutes, child molesters, rapists, bank robbers, and terrorists.

    I believe personal agendas and ideology of city leaders does not fall in line with decreasing the said type of people in Antioch.

  5. Julio says:

    Why won’t they tell us exactly how much “O” money has been collected? Why won’t the staff at the water desk take any money from property owners who have come down to pay their Measure “O” money? They should volunteer the amount of money collected through Measure “O” in a monthly report.

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