People come and go from any job or organization, but the Turlock Associated Police Officers feel an abnormal number of officers have left the department in the past year.
“Turlock Police Department has lost yet another officer to another agency,” TAPO posted on its Facebook page. “In one year, three officers have left to go work for other law enforcement agencies. This is unprecedented. Never have so many officers left in such a short time to work for other agencies. One must ask why???”
In the past several years the Turlock Police Department has lost seven officers. It currently employs 123 full-time employees including dispatchers, clerks and community service officers.
In a recent interview with TurlockCityNews.com, Turlock Police Captain Carl Nielsen, who oversees uniformed patrol, noted that overtime hours and Bay Area salaries are often a pull for officers from Turlock and other Valley cities.
“Staffing is an issue, our officers are getting tired and it’s not sustainable,” he said. “The reality is that as a department you can’t do less with more. The individual officer may be able to, but not as an entire department.”
It became evident in early February that a six-month experiment by the City of Turlock, using overtime hours to offset the loss of personnel, had ended up backfiring. The Turlock City Council budgeted $400,000 in overtime pay to cover $735,000 worth of salaries and benefits for four officers.
In recent months TAPO has been very forward on Facebook about its relationship with the City of Turlock government. On Feb. 3 TAPO posted “You can not do more with less, in fact you can not even do the same with less. Turlock PD now has fewer officers than they did in 2007, all with the approval of the CM (City Manager Roy Wasden) and City Council!”
Nielsen declined comment other than to say “Command Staff recognizes TAPO's right to post whatever comments they desire on their Facebook account.”