Barbanica calls for increasing police force by 2.5% per year, adding six officers over next two years, 55 more total

Antioch District 2 Councilman Mike Barbanica calls for more cops in a video he posted on his YouTube channel and official Facebook page on Saturday, July 17, 2021. Screenshot.

Until city reaches state standard of 1.48 sworn officers per 1,000 population, which equals 170; second council member to request more police last week

By Allen Payton

Another Antioch council member is calling for more sworn officers on the city’s police force. District 2 Councilman Mike Barbanica is calling for increasing the Antioch police force by 2.5% per year until the department reaches the state standard of 1.48 sworn officers per 1,000 population. That would add about three officers per year over the next two years above the 115 currently allocated in the budget, and give the city 170 total sworn officers.

Currently the city has about 1.0 sworn officers per 1,000 population and the goal since the mid-1990’s has been to achieve 1.2 sworn officers per 1,000.

He joins District 1 Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker, who posted a Facebook video on Saturday morning, calling for the addition of four more officers and have them focus on the Sycamore area. That was in response to her spending time in that part of her district, which has long been the area of the city with the highest level of crime for decades, and hearing complaints from business owners and residents. (See related article)

That’s in spite of the fact that both council members voted along with Mayor Lamar Thorpe and Mayor Pro Tem Monica Wilson for the new two-year budget on June 22 which does not include any additional officers.

On Saturday at 5:20 p.m., Barbanica posted a video and comments about the proposal on both his YouTube Channel and his official Facebook page, but wrote that he made the video last weekend and informed Thorpe about his idea on Tuesday.

“After the meeting Tuesday night, I called the mayor and told him that I’m formally requesting that this be placed on the agenda,” Barbanica told the Herald. “And I followed up with a formal email.”

He said he was pleasantly surprised to see Torres-Walker’s request she announced earlier on Saturday.

Following is Barbanica’s Facebook post:

“Antioch First! Public Safety

I made this video last weekend and I know some of you are curious, yes, it was before Tuesday night’s standing committee meeting. But, that changes nothing…I am still going to push to get the body cams, car cams, taser technology upgrade and I am introducing a plan for getting staffing where it needs to be. Following the meeting Tuesday night, I called the mayor and told him about the video and that I would be coming out with it. On Wednesday night I emailed the mayor with a formal request to bring this addition of officers to council as an agenda item. Is this a big ask?…yes. Would this take years…yes. However, there would likely be adjustments along the way. Is our community worth it…YES!

So far, here are the results of some of the votes:

Body/Car cams 5-0 (5 yes)

Taser Technology Upgrade 2-3 (2 yes 3 no)

Double the size of Code Enforcement 4-1 (4 yes 1 no)

Recommend implementation of body/car cam policy 2-3 (2 yes 3 no), and that was a standing committee vote, which will come back to us, so it is not a dead issue.

I have proposed that the city council adopt a resolution that would assure the public that PD officer staffing levels will increase each year by a minimum of 2.5% until we reach our goal that I talk about in this video. I have made the request to have this placed on the agenda.

We are re-visiting the budget in November and I think this would be a great time for this to come to the council.”

Following his vote for the budget, when asked why he didn’t include a request for additional police then, Barbanica said “the chief didn’t submit a request for any additional funds. But we can revisit it during the mid-year budget review.

An effort to reach Thorpe asking if he had any comments on Barbanica’s email from earlier in the week and if he will place the matter of additional police requested by the two council members on the next meeting agenda was unsuccessful prior to publication time. Please check back later for any updates to this report.

 

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