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Police department adds new officer, recruits
New hires address grand jury staffing concerns
Hiram Duncan
The police department held a swearing-in ceremony for Hiram Duncan on Tuesday. - photo by Photo Contributed


Manteca              $5,713 to $6,940

Merced                $4,716 to $6,326

Turlock                 $3,916 to $5,510




The Turlock Police Department welcomed a new officer Tuesday morning and introduced three new recruits headed to the police academy as the department works to increase the ranks after being chided by the grand jury for staff shortages.

The police department held a swearing-in ceremony for Hiram Duncan, who comes to Turlock after a year and a half with the Fresno Police Department and four years as a fraud investigator for the Kings County welfare department.

Duncan is one of the lateral hires the Turlock Police Department and Turlock Associated Police Officers had been hoping to find in an ongoing effort to fill several vacancies. The department is allocated for 74 sworn personnel, but has been operating at minimum staffing levels for some time now.

The police officers union has been very vocal in its displeasure of the staffing shortage at the police department and the organization's argument received a bolster from the Stanislaus County Civil Grand Jury when it faulted the department for not having enough officers.

In March of this year, eight members of the Stanislaus County Civil Grand Jury participated in ride-alongs with police officers to see how the department interacted with the community.

In the official findings, the grand jury found the police department to be staffed with knowledgeable officers who showed great problem solving skills. However, the grand jury found that the department was operating under a staffing shortage, which was leading to longer shifts and more overtime for the officers.

The grand jury recommended the police department utilize more effective recruitment practices and offer “better benefits to attract qualified candidates.”

In a written response to the grand jury, Turlock Police Chief Rob Jackson explained the department was short five vacant sworn officer positions, as well as temporary vacancies from four long-term injuries. In addition to those vacancies, the police department had to cut seven positions over the last two years because of budget cuts and the loss of a federal grant, Jackson stated in his letter.

Jackson stated the department had already been making efforts to find qualified candidates that they could send through the police academy. The department received more than 450 applications from individuals hoping to join the police department. Of those, the department selected three candidates — Alfred Velasquez, Emanuel Moles, and Adam Neep — to send to the next round of training at the police academy starting this month. It takes on average six months to complete academy training and then another six months of on the job training.

“There will be more faces to come,” Jackson said at Tuesday’s ceremony. “We’re looking forward to filling all our vacancies.”

Jackson took exception to the grand jury’s findings that the police department needed to offer a better benefit package and stated if the grand jury had done some further research they would have seen the health care package “is better than any comparison cities in our area,” Jackson wrote.

The City of Turlock, with a population around 70,000 lists the monthly salary for an officer between $3,916 and $5,510 a month. The benefit package includes a fully paid health plan for the employee and their family; term life insurance at one and a half times their salary; and long term disability insurance. New police officers participate in the Public Employees Retirement System at a range of about 9 percent. In Manteca, which has a population around 71,000, the pay range is $5,713 to $6,940 and full-time employees receive medical, hospital, dental, long-term disability, life, and vision insurance. In Merced, with a population of about 80,000, the pay rate is between $4,716 and $6,326 and they provide around $604 per pay period for insurance.

In addition to the new recruits and Duncan, the police department has hired Rochelle Segarini as a Community Services Officer. She has seven years experience with the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department and the Stanislaus County Community Services Agency.

Amanda Fortado, who has been with the police department since 2012, has been promoted to Business Analyst.