Recently the mayor announced that the SRPD was planning to strike due to unresolved contract issues. The mayor and governor held a press conference to announce this information. We'd like to take this opportunity to address the community concerns that were raised.
First and foremost, the officers at the SRPD are here to serve and protect the community. We do not take the talk of a possible strike lightly, nor did we put it forward for frivolous reasons. In order to avert a possible strike, we have reached out to the mayor and governor to start contract negotiations. We are hopeful that we can find common ground and avoid any strike, for the good of this great and wonderful city.
Secondly, let me assure you that none of us wish taxes to go up for anyone. The mayor has discretionary spending that can be used for some of these items. Given that she keeps offering to buy us bigger, badder, and better guns, armored vehicles and money to film COPs type recruitment ads, we feel there must be funds available that can be taken from those budget line items to pay for our requests. In addition, the PD is willing to host fund raisers and community events to help raise funds to cover any shortfall in the budget requests. Here is what we are asking for via contract negotiations:
Increased budget for training:
We are seriously in need of additional training opportunities which requires additional funding. Basic police academy training covers just that-basics. It does not cover any advanced training. The top two categories that we need advanced training in is de-escalation techniques and appropriate ways to interact with citizens in crisis because of mental illness, drug or alcohol abuse, or recent trauma.
Dedicated Mental health professional or professionals:
Many departments of our size have their own dedicated psychologist on staff to deal with the issues Police Officers face daily. Dr. Eve Stone has graciously offered the services of the hospital and clinic and we are grateful to her for this offer. She has helped several officers already, however there are limitations to her help. The main issue with relying on the hospital and clinic counselors is that some times, we it takes 2-5 days before we can see a counselor. It is possible that if the hospital had more psychologists, then the PD would not see this as such an important issue but since there are limited psychologists on staff at the clinic and hospital, at least to our knowledge, this makes it a larger issue for us. We see some of the most inhumane and vile situations in this job and there are times that we need to process these issues immediately. Having a dedicated counselor or a system in place with the hospital/clinic so that officers can get an appointment within 12-24 hours would be ideal.
A press release supporting the PD:
Yes, we feel it is important that the governor and mayor vocally and publicly show support to the SRPD. A person can be supportive, positive, and seek positive outcomes and still speak out about problems that need to be addressed. While the governor has expressed his support for the PD, the last 3 mayors that have served our great city of Santa Ramona have actively denigrated and worked against our attempts to help our community. Any group of people will become disheartened and tired when they are constantly met with negativity and hate while on the job.
There were some at our community meeting and at the mayor's press conference that expressed frustration that the police did not patrol in Southside, specifically the region some refer to as the "ghetto." In good faith, the PD is offering to reopen contract negotiations regarding patrols in that area. If the citizens wish a higher police presence in that area, then the police are willing to hear how we can be of assistance in making that area safer for all citizens.
Lastly, I feel it important to give you some numbers to think about.
While I freely admit that the PD has work to do in terms of our relationship with the community these numbers may help put some things in perspective.
June 2018-April 2019
193-The number of cases the PD has received and investigated
8-The number of reported and investigated complaints and/or IA investigations against SRPD.
6-The number of full time, active duty officers at SRPD
19-The number of officers on our roster, which includes full time, part time, and those on personal leave.
5-Officer Involved Shootings, all officers cleared by IA or Judge Gil. T. Justice
Below you will also find a synopsis of the 8 reported and investigated complaints or incidents involving officers. This list does not include officer involved shootings.
One female Officer was involved in a traffic incident, while another was arresting her she accidentally discharged a firearm. The Officer in question was suspended and ordered to retake her gun certification on return. She resigned shortly after.
One off duty officer was accused of abusing authority. Officer was suspended pending investigation. Investigation found no evidence of this. Officer returned to duty. and then later resigned.
One male officer accused another Officer of being biased to a situation involving his then fiancee's niece. The accused Officer had gone on record several times requesting that he be kept be off of those cases, but lack of manpower meant he had no choice but it be involved. Officer cleared.
Two off duty officers beat a man outside of creamy centers. They were suspended and then chose to resign rather than face investigation. They are barred from working at the department again and will face charges should they return to SRV.
Male officer became overly aggressive and rude with parollee. Officer left scene, leaving his partner in dangerous situation. Officer was suspended and ordered psychiatric treatment.
Female officer became overly aggressive and pushed female witness. Officer was put on desk duty, told to formally apologize, received extra training in appropriate tactics and given warning.
Male officer pulled his gun from holster in attempt to calm down a citizen who was getting upset. He was attempting to ask what accessories she would suggest he purchase for it. Officer was given warning and retraining.
Male officer made rude and inflammatory comments about the mayor while on duty. Officer was suspended without pay and voluntarily sort counseling.