Antioch Police staffing currently down 21 sworn officers

Authorized to have 115 to 121 sworn officers on the force, currently 94 are at “full duty” status; below 1 officer per 1,000 population; state average greater than 2 officers per 1,000, national average of 2.4

By Allen Payton

Th Antioch Police Department is down 21 and as much as 27 sworn officers from what the city council has authorized of between 115 and 121, as of Thursday, Jan. 13, 2022. In addition, there are currently no lateral officers in process that could be hired from other departments.

Plus, the city council, in spite of increases in tax revenue of $5.6 million and $8.7 million in this and next years’ budgets, did not include the hiring of any additional officers. Although District 1 Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker has asked for four more officers to be hired for her district,  District 2 Councilman Mike Barbanica called for adding six more officers over the next two years and requested the hiring of additional police officers be placed on a council meeting agenda, and District 3 Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock was the only one to vote against the current, two-year budget because it didn’t include funding for any additional police officers, Mayor Lamar Thorpe has refused to agendize the matter. (See related articles here, here and here)

Current Antioch Police Staffing

In response to questions about police staffing, Captain Trevor Schnitzius wrote, “We are currently staffed at 109 sworn-police officers (authorized to 115) with Council approval to over hire by six (in theory 121).  We have 15 Officers on various leaves which places us at 94 officers at “full duty” status (this number is current as of today and can fluctuate due to injuries and staff returning to work from injuries).  We had two applicants formally withdraw from our hiring process in recent months.  We do not currently have any lateral police officers in process with our department, but that can change at any time.”

“It is not at all unusual for this time of year just coming out of the Holiday Season and heading into the New Year to experience a lull in applicants, it’s typically one of our slowest times of the year for recruiting,” he continued. “We have three new police officer trainees that started the Academy in January, and we maintain continuous, open recruitments for lateral, academy grad, and police trainee positions.  Our agency is still offering a $10,000 hiring bonus for lateral officers dispersed over benchmark timeframes.”

“It’s still an extremely competitive market for qualified police officer candidates these days.  Our recruiting challenges are not unique to us, and we still have a ton to offer as one of the premier law enforcement agencies in our area.”

Less Than One Officer Per Thousand Population

That leaves the city with only 1.0 officer per 1,000 population authorized based on the 2020 Census figure of 115,291 and less than 0.82 officers per thousand at full duty. The goal has been to achieve 1.2 officer per thousand since the mid-1990’s. That’s well below the approximate 2.0 officers per thousand statewide as of 2019 statistics. “Nationwide, the rate of sworn officers was 2.4 per 1,000 inhabitants” in 2019, according to an FBI report.

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