The Chico Police Department announced Thursday that it is shifting resources again so it can better deal with the growing number of daily critical crime and traffic incidents.
The department will be reorganizing its internal resources and will become effective on Nov. 18.
In a press statement released late Thursday, department officials said the organization has reached a critical point in maintaining a minimum level of police officers in the patrol section in order to handle daily critical incidents. These incidents include, but are not limited to, traffic collisions, drunk in public, fights, domestic violence, neighbor/civil disputes, loitering/transient issues, missing children, prowlers, sexual assaults, suicidal/mental health intervention, assault with deadly weapons, and homicides.
The changes also mean the elimination of the department's gang, traffic and street crimes unit.
Officials say the patrol section requires a minimum of 56 police officer positions to maintain an adequate level of service in responding to critical incidents and providing a sufficient level of safety for our police officers during the handling of daily events.
The following information comes directly from the department's press release. Action News is pursuing comments from city officials about these changes.
"Currently, the patrol section is allocated 49 police officers from the 71 funded police officer positions. The remaining 22 police officer positions fill alternate assignments such as the detective unit, gang unit, street crimes, and traffic unit. Due to short term and long term disabilities, light duty assignments or separation from employment, the patrol section has 44 police officers currently available for deployment. Additionally, the patrol section will lose 2 police officers through service retirements by the end of December 2012. Additional police officer service retirements are expected in 2013.
As a result of these impacts and projected low staffing level, a reorganization of police officer assignments will occur to ensure the department can respond to our citizen’s calls for service. Eliminating the gang unit, street crimes unit, and traffic unit will result in 6 police officers being returned to the patrol section. In the February 2013, the TARGET unit will be eliminated and result in 4 police officers being returned to the patrol section. As occurs when any service is reduced, the elimination of these units will prevent the department from closely monitoring gang activity, street level crime, and assist the detective unit in investigating cases.
Departmental staff cares greatly for the community they serve and desires to protect and guard each member of this great City. By reallocating our police officers, we will ensure there is adequate staff to respond to priority calls which affect the well-being our citizens who are in jeopardy."