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Martinez Officers Association Addresses Staffing Issues

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The following letter was submitted by the Martinez Police Officers Association

Chances are, you may have met them but they are no longer working in Martinez. Recently, we, the Martinez Police Officers Association (MPOA) have been asked by community members why it seems the Martinez Police Department always has new faces working our streets.  Some have asked, “What happened to Officer insert departed Officer’s name?” We have been asked, “Where is Ofc. Brinser and who will be working with the homeless?”  “Who’s working with the mentally challenged?” Finally, we are asked, “Where are the motorcycle cops we saw at the various schools in the morning?” We believe you deserve an explanation.

The Martinez Police Department is facing severe recruitment/retention issues.

There are currently six vacancies in a staff of 37 Officers. Of the remaining members, three are currently looking for employment with nearby cities.  Since 2014, 22 new officers have been employed by the City of Martinez as Police Officers.  Nine have sought better opportunity/pay/compensation with other cities, five have separated from the agency, and only eight remain as Officers which equates to a retention rate of 37%. Those Officers that chose to seek employment elsewhere have cited lack of competitive pay and lack of opportunities as the major deciding factors for leaving.

So what does this all mean?

Our administration has had to make cuts in service so that basic services in our city could continue.  Unfortunately, some of those cuts include not providing a dedicated School Resource Officer (SRO), not providing a dedicated Officer for homeless outreach, a dedicated Officer to work with the Mental Health Evaluation Team (MHET) program which works with people who suffer from mental illness, or a designated traffic Officer at our schools to help ensure your child’s safety – to list just a few. In most modern cities, Police Administration’s responsibility is to manage the day-to-day operations of the department.

I bet you, the public, would be shocked to know that your Police Command staff (including the Chief) are taking turns working patrol shifts just to fill the vacancies. The MPOA and Police Administration are committed to providing you the basic services that you deserve.

The City’s budget reserves have increased to above eight million, the economy is vibrant and on the upswing. In addition to Measure H funds, the City was even able to fund additional park improvements for the anticipated baseball team. So, to the MPOA, it seems that the community’s safety is not as important to city leadership as it should be.

The MPOA brought this issue forward to the City Manager after we compared our City’s competitiveness with local jurisdictions.  City staff conducted their own study and validated that we were approximately 17% behind the average salary and second from the bottom in this county.  The City Council recognizes the need for the City of Martinez to be competitive in order to attract highly qualified men and women to serve you as well as to retain the Officers who have chosen to stay and be a part of this community.

So what can you do? We encourage you to contact our City Council, the City Manager, and exercise your right to be heard at a City Council meeting.

For more on the Martinez Police Officers Association, visit: www.martinezpoa.org

7 COMMENTS

  1. Out of the 10 states with highest pay for police officers, CA is number 1. The average pay is 93,550, with several cities paying over 100,000. This is 52.7% higher than the national average.

    Sorry… cry me a river. If you want pay of 250K plus – get an undergraduate and graduate degree, and become a CEO. Or become a doctor or a lawyer.

  2. It may be time to rethink the whole policing in America thing. The way we do it and pay for it. It’s a tough job but I believe the price we’re paying may be too much – with police and civilian lives lost and ballooning operations costs. Maybe if we adopted the British model? Not sure and there are a lot of question marks out there: like what happens when you place unarmed police amid a heavily armed civilian population. They may not do it. But I think it’s time to reexamine the whole practice.

  3. We liked it when the chief came out on the street with us. And I think he liked it too. It’s good to stay connected with your beat.

  4. Careful what you wish for. There are a lot of bad people around and they have made it known they are willing to take what they want from others. You have to wonder what the world would be like without the police.

  5. Cops have a difficult and important jobs. I’m thankful for their service. But…….

    Average total comp (including generous pension benefits) for Martinez Police officers is about $175K. Wages alone (including overtime, which they all get) is about $132K.

    The public should ask one question: the last time you had a vacancy for one of these jobs, how many people applied? In the real world (private sector) you pay what it takes to get and retain qualified people who can do the job— and not any more than that. Vacant positions are a sign that comp may be low. Long lines of eager candidates are not. If churn is too high, change compensation to encourage sticking around (deferred comp with vesting for example).

    http://publicpay.ca.gov/Reports/PositionDetail.aspx?employeeid=16356365

  6. Are you factoring in costs to cities forced to pay out for police shootings and abuse cases? Or do the insurance companies cover all of that?

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