Antioch Police force down 39 sworn active officers, one trainee in academy

Interim Antioch Police Chief Steve Ford was joined by Lt. John Fortner, and Captains Tony Morefield and Trevor Schnitzius for a press conference, Tuesday morning, Oct. 11, 2022. Screenshot of video by Allen D. Payton

Interim Chief Ford won’t say if APD has a policy on release of body cam videos; coordinates with council members on Community Forums

By Allen D. Payton

Captain Schnitzius is participating in the Pink Patch Project in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Photo by Allen D. Payton

During a press conference by Antioch Interim Police Chief Ford Wednesday morning, Oct. 11, 2022, he reported that of the 102 sworn officers currently on the city’s police force there are only 76 active, with eight officers under investigation and on paid leave. That’s from the total of 115 sworn officers budgeted by the city council. Ford was joined by Captains Tony Morefield and Trevor Schnitzius, as well as Leiutenant John Fortner who helped provide information to answer reporters’ questions.

Two officers who are suing the city and District 1 Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker are also on paid leave. But it is not known if either or both officers are included in the eight under investigation. (See related article)

That leaves between 16 and 18 sworn officers who are on paid leave for illness or injury. Antioch Police PIO Darryl Saffold later confirmed, “we have several officers who are sick or injured.”

In response to a question of how many candidates the department currently has on in the academy, Schnitizius said they had one trainee in the Alameda County Police Academy, one of several used by the department, and that they had added four officers to the force in the past two months.

No Update on Investigation of Alleged “Crimes of Moral Turpitude”

Although he was expected to provide an update on the investigation of the officers by the FBI and Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office, Ford would not offer any additional details. He mainly said, “our officers deserve their due process…and should not be tried in the court of public opinion” and that “the purported allegations are not reflective of the organization as a whole.”

During the question and answer portion of the press conference, following Ford’s brief, prepared remarks, when asked for a definition of the term, “crimes of moral turpitude” that the eight are accused of and what could fall under that he responded, “I’m not prepared to speak to anything about the investigation, specifically.”

Asked if they were on paid leave, Ford responded, “they are technically separated from the organization and on unpaid leave.” When asked to clarify if the eight officers were on non-paid or paid leave, he said, “paid leave”.

(See related article)

APD Coordinates with Council Members on Community Forums

Ford was then asked if the Community Forums are his forums, the department’s or the council members’ forums and if he would commit to in the future not hold the in the afternoon, when most people are still not home from work, like the recent one. Ford responded, “the Community Forum is really a platform for the community, it doesn’t belong to us, it doesn’t belong to the council.”

“I do work in concert with each councilperson,” he continued. “I give them the respect to identify the venue in their district. Then we respond to the venue of their choice.”

Asked how many K-9 teams the department has deployed Sergeant

Asked about the suspect in the

Won’t Say if APD Has Policy on Officer Body Cam Footage Release

Since only two police body cameras have been released by APD since they’ve been used, he was asked what is the department’s policy for releasing videos and specifically the footage from the incident with Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker in October 2021.

“I just want to speak to the idea that…in consultation with our city attorney the decision that was made was made. I’ll leave it at that. We did consult with the city attorney.”

“So, it’s on a case-by-case basis?” he was then asked. Ford responded, “I’m not going to say that. With specific reference to what you just inquired, we did consult with the city attorney, and that decision was made.”

Pressed further for APD’s policy, he said, “There are rules and regulations surrounding that, for sure. Absolutely.” But Ford didn’t say what if any the department’s policy is for releasing body camera video footage.




the attachments to this post:

Captain Schnitzius pink patch for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

APD press conference 10-11-13 video screenshot

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