Paso Robles Police officers’ fight for public safety
October 17, 2012
The purpose of this media release is to express The Paso Robles Police Officers’ Association’s (PRPOA) disagreement with the action the city has recently taken involving the rehiring of a retired Sergeant into a previously unfilled sixth sergeant position.
In June of 2012, the Paso Robles City Council voted to hire more police officers bringing the total number of sworn officers to 32, with one of those positions being assigned to the San Luis Obispo County Gang/Narcotic Task Force. Within this staffing approval of sworn personnel there was to be nine supervisorial/administrative positions, one chief, one captain, two lieutenants, and five sergeants.
An additional sergeant position had been budgeted for in years past but had not been filled since staffing reduction and was not going to be filled until significant staffing had increased to the budgeted allowance of 46 sworn officers.
Had the PRPOA been advised of the city’s proposed action, we would have suggested alternatives that better suit the needs of the department now and in the future. Specifically, the PRPOA would have proposed the hiring of new officers to fill vacant positions before the hiring of another supervisor.
The Paso Robles Police Department already has a large supervisory staff. We feel patrol officers are what is needed and would benefit the citizens of Paso Robles. Had the city requested the PRPOA’s input, our suggestions would have focused on the hiring of new officers and putting more officers on the street.
The PRPOA understands it was the council’s desire that the open sworn officer positions be filled, to allow for minimum staffing of four officers per patrol shift, and one officer to be designated to the county task force.
At the time the decision was made, the suggestion was that the vacant sergeant position not be filled until staffing levels reached 46 sworn staff. Currently the department staffing levels are; 28 sworn officers, nine of whom are designated at supervisorial positions.
The PRPOA calls into question why a tenth Supervisory position that has gone unfilled for many years due to cost cutting measures has now been filled by a retired supervisor, while there is still patrol officer positions still unfilled?
The PRPOA understands the city ultimately has the power to hire personnel, but the PRPOA believe with open dialogue and by working together, the City and the PRPOA can fill vacancies and help form this department that is most beneficial for the citizens we serve.
Tony Ruiz is the president of the Paso Robles Police Officers’ Association.