By Doc Souza
About 9 months ago, I wrote an article asking if we need more police officers. This was after a series of violent crimes that had Elk Grove residents angry and concerned about safety in the city. After four armed robberies in 8 days this month, two of which included pedestrians robbed at gun point, the answer is yes we need more police officers.
As I said in my previous article, the Elk Grove Police Department is under staffed when compared to every other city in our region. Below is a chart I created back in September.
Elk Grove currently has 171,000 people and 139 sworn officers according to the EGPD website. In order to get to the 10 officer per 10,000 person thresh hold, the city would need to hire an additional 32 officers. 32 more officers could have a a huge impact on the crime level in the city. That would represent a 23% increase in police officers. Can the city afford that? With the proposed casino paying $1.5 million a year to the city strictly for police services, it could happen in the future.
Nothing has changed since then. We are still understaffed. We are adding more people. We have an increase of homeless in the city. We have instances where police are prioritizing their calls, which leaves them unable to respond to other possibly serious calls. People have commented on social media that they were told the officers were tied up on other cases and couldn’t respond. I’m not blaming the Elk Grove Police Department. They do a great job for what they have to work with, but they need help. I think even they would admit that.
How would we pay for more officers? That is the question. There isn’t money in the budget to add the amount of officers we need. A tax increase? A tax increase that goes specifically to an identified purpose such as police, roads etc, requires a 2/3 +1 vote of the people. A tax that goes to the general fund only requires a 50%+1 vote. Money that goes to the general fund can be used for anything. They can say it would be used for a specific purpose, i.e., hire more officers, but that is not a guarantee
What is all this doing to our reputation? Well, it’s not helping it. I have had people message me they are tired of it and are moving out of Elk Grove. I have had friends tell me they know people who are leaving. We all know the police can’t be everywhere. More of them would cut down the response times and maybe more criminals would be caught. Elk Grove has always been seen as not as good as other suburbs in our area like Folsom, Rocklin, El Dorado Hills, and Roseville. None of this helps that. When “good” people start leaving our city, then we have an issue. This reputation is also known by employers and retailers. We have 175,000 people here, and projected to reach 200,000 in 5-10 years and we can’t get enough retailers to sign on to finish the mall? We can’t get something like a Nordstrom’s Rack? or an REI? Or nicer restaurants? There’s a reason why.
The numbers clearly show we need more officers. It’s up to us, the residents to make sure out local elected officials understand this.
Here is the contact information for the city council
Steve Detrick firstname.lastname@example.org
Pat Hume email@example.com
Darren Suen firstname.lastname@example.org