Hiring and retention continue to be major issues for the Los Gatos-Monte Sereno Police Department, which has lost two sworn staff members in the past six months.
Police Chief Jamie Field told the Los Gatos Town Council Tuesday night that in addition to these departures, an academy recruit opted to not continue in the police academy.
Field presented a department status report to the council that indicated “several additional experienced officers” are expected to leave the department soon as well, though specifics were not given at the time of publication.
The department is currently hiring for two sworn officers, two communication dispatchers, a police and records manager and six per diem dispatchers to support the fulltime staff. There are currently four sworn dispatchers, and two are expected to be in training soon.
The department had to impose mandatory overtime for its active police officers to keep staffing levels up. The department’s budget funds 39 sworn officers: 30 of these are active, five are out due to injury and two are in training.
In the past six months, the department has faced “significant impacts” from these vacancies, on-the-job injuries and family medical leave, Field said.
“Due to our staffing, it has been challenging to have dedicated motorcycle units out there because we do not have a lot of staff that’s trained on the motorcycles,” she added.
The department answered its 911 calls faster in 2022 than it did in 2021, with 96.8% of calls answered within 10 seconds in 2022 and 95.3% answered within 10 seconds in 2021, Field said.
The department is in the middle of a FLOCK automatic license plate reader pilot program, set to expire in February 2024, that tracks the vehicles coming in and out of town.
Operations Capt. Derek Moye said that in the last six months, 14 stolen vehicles were recovered and 32 reports of stolen vehicles were filed.
Moyes said the department helped recover more than $20,000 worth of Apple products that were stolen in Walnut Creek last July after officers tracked the vehicle with FLOCK cameras.
Field said the racial makeup of those pulled over in police stops was 50% white and 50% people of color.
Resident John Shepardson asked why the breakdown did not reflect the town’s population, which is three-quarters white according to the US Census Bureau.
Field said the race of drivers who are pulled over is based on the perception of the officer filling out the report, and that drivers pulled over in Los Gatos are often from other communities.
Soruce : https://www.mercurynews.com/2023/01/18/short-staffed-los-gatos-police-department-loses-two-more-officers/