Antioch Council approves hiring six more police officers to make up for vacancies in the force

By Allen Payton

The City of Antioch’s budget includes funding for 115 sworn police officers and the Antioch Police Department currently has 112 sworn officers on the force. But, staffing does not always keep up with the amount budgeted due to So, the council was asked by Police Chief Tammany Brooks for an over-hire of six officers.

“I’m going to start by thanking you…for your unwavering support,” Brooks said. “I’ve seen that support in your words. I’ve seen your support in the form of actions. You’ve shown up to swearing in ceremonies. But you’ve also shown your support by, I will say, your support…financially and by policy to raise our staffing from an abysmal 78 officers back in 2013 to 115 officers.”

Chief Tammany Brooks

“I have three more jobs, to fill. We have one young man in the police academy who will be graduating in May,” he explained.

Brooks also said he has two more conditional job offers which are the 114th and 115th officers.

“We have between three and six officers separating from employment due to retirement or medical reasons,” he stated. “Every year we’ve had three or more separations that are unexpected. So, I am looking at ways to minimize the period at which we go below our staffing levels. To do that I’m here asking for an over-hire. It will allow us to make conditional job offers, so they can start the police academy…to maintain our staff level at 115.”

“The average application process…takes up to three months,” Brooks explained. “If it’s an entry level hire it could take another six months.”

He asked for an over-hire of six officers to address the attrition.

“Do we currently…have a policy to allow you to over-hire, and not just coming to us?” Councilwoman Monica Wilson asked.

“There are two cities that do have a policy of over-hiring to maintain their staffing level and that’s Brentwood and Walnut Creek,” Brooks said.

“That is a policy we could look at, so we didn’t have to come back to council,” City Manager Ron Bernal said.

“I agree with Councilwoman Wilson…I think it should apply to Code Enforcement, as well,” Councilman Lamar Thorpe added.

“I just want to thank the chief for all your efforts,” Mayor Pro Tem Motts said. “I think you’re making an incredible difference in our community.”

“I just want to give credit to Nickie Mastay and finance staff.

“We have been hiring at a breakneck pace, at no point lowering our standards,” Brooks said. “Since Measure C was approved in November 2013, we’ve hired 82 officers and we’ve had 52 that have left for some reason of separation. So, for us to be here today with 112 officers is a tremendous feat.”

“Thank you for bringing this forward so we keep moving forward,” Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock said. “I applaud the council of thinking of moving forward with a policy, so you don’t have to keep coming back to us to keep these numbers up.”

“Chief, thank you, this is necessary,” Mayor Sean Wright said. “This is the only way we get to the number allotted to you. Sometime soon we will get to the 115 number which is one officer per 1,000 (population). Then we can celebrate. Then we can get to 1.2.”

The motion to authorize the hiring of six additional officers passed unanimously.

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