The Turlock City Council voted unanimously to accept and fund a portion of a federal grant that will result in the Turlock Police Department hiring four new officers.
The Turlock Police Department was one of 12 agencies to be awarded one of the Community Oriented Policing Services grant from the Department of Justice. TPD has been granted $500,000 that could be used to hire four officers.
The hiring of four new officers will cost more than $1.1 million over three years. The grant will provide $125,000 per officer for three years with the city contributing the additional estimated $693,327 over the three year period. The city’s portion includes benefits and cost of living increases. The estimate cost does not cover possible overtime pay, uniform allowance, and equipment expenses. The city spent an estimated additional $150,000 in these types of expenses from the 2009 COPS grant that the Turlock Police Department accepted.
The police department has been experiencing an ongoing staff shortage because of departures and long and short term injuries. As a result the street crimes unit had to be disbanded earlier this year to ensure the department could meet the minimum staffing levels for patrol duties. The acceptance of the grant stipulates the department increase the ranks of the sworn officers from the current number of 74 to 78. Police Chief Rob Jackson said the grant will allow for veteran officers to return to the specialized street crime unit while new officers take on patrol duties.
“The team will focus on proactive policing,” Jackson said.
The city is required to keep the four officers hired with the grant money for one year after the grant term ends.
The city will be able to offset the costs by using $100,000 from the Supplemental Law Enforcement Services Funds for the first three years of the grant. The fourth year the city will have to pay all the costs of the four officers at an estimated expense of $466,000.
The Turlock City Council also passed other measures relating to the police department Tuesday night. The council authorized the department to purchase six new patrol cars at a cost not to exceed $276,000 or $46,000 per vehicle. The department will be purchasing Ford Explorers because the Ford Crown Victorias are no longer being made. The vehicles will be purchased from Patchetts Ford in Turlock. The purchase was approved 5-0.
The council also approved by a 5-0 vote the department to trade in firearms that are being taken out of service during the current fiscal year. The trade-ins would be made to only authorized dealers and will help with the cost of new firearms. The department intends to replace all department issued pistols during the current fiscal year.