Council to Discuss Future of Public Safety at Special Meeting

The Turlock City Council is meeting on Tuesday evening to discuss the current status and futures of both the Turlock Police and Fire departments.

Public safety is one of the key issues facing the City of Turlock, with trying to find the balance between ensure the departments are properly funded, while maintain a reasonable budget.

Currently, public safety makes up a large majority of the general fund each year, however there are still many difficulties facing Turlock police and fire.

Both departments are currently short-staffed, especially the Turlock Police Department, which has cut 16 full-time positions since 2009, when the department had 130 full-time employees.

Currently, the Turlock Fire Department is allocated 78 full-time sworn officers, down from 86 in 2009, and 46 full-time non-sworn staff, the lowest it’s been in a decade.

Of the 78 allocated officers, 72 of the positions are filled; two officers are currently in training and four are in the academy. The department expects to have the vacancies full within six months to a year.

Even with the plan to have vacancies filled within a year, the City of Turlock and Turlock Associated Police Officers (TAPO) have been in a long battle over contracts. TAPO rejected the City’s contract in October and have been involved in closed session negotiations since.

TAPO and the City of Turlock are also involved in a legal battle over funds taken from Turlock police officer checks after the sunset clause had expired. The 9 percent taken from the TAPO members’ monthly salary resulted in about $45,000 in total.

The heads of the Turlock Police Department and City of Turlock will discuss options going forward to fully staff and fund the department.

The Turlock Fire Department is also facing some vacancies, although not as publicized as those of the Turlock Police Department.

Over recent years, the Turlock Fire Department has seen continuous increase in calls with nearly 300 more calls in 2014 (6,160) than in 2013 (5,879). Despite the increase in call volume, Turlock fire has managed to bring down response times to 5:00 minutes, the lowest since 2009.

Currently, the Turlock Fire Department staffs each engine with three firefighters, although the National Fire Protection Association recommends four per engine.

In addition to low staffing and a high volume of calls, the Turlock Fire Department has also recently absorbed the Neighborhood Services Department. Neighborhood Services deals with weed and graffiti abatement, noise permits, shopping carts, abandoned vehicles, etc.

Both departments will go over their past strategic plans and recommend changes going forward that will allow the Turlock City Council to help make a reality.

Turlock City Council will meet at 6 p.m. on Tuesday in the Yosemite Room of City Hall, 156 S. Broadway. 

Comments 9

  1. Bob says:
    Merced county fire runs with 1 firefighter staffing in the majority if there 22 stations and 2 firefighting staffing in four if there stations
  2. The Thin Blue Line says:
    A outline of concerns: In 2008 we voted to take concessions. We kept the services that the City needed and kept our "family" employed and the much needed police services at the levels they needed to be at to keep people safe in the city of Turlock. Here it is 2015 and the city's revenue has returned to the pre-2008 levels but the city refuses to pay its Officers what is comparable to other similar city's. I have seen compassion by officers on the streets of Turlock. I have witnessed officers feed homeless people care for sick or injured people, Respond to life threatening situations and risk their life's. We have one of the most educated departments in my opinion, we have officers that have masters degrees, bachelor degrees, and countless training hours that make us who we are today. But too many of us are feed up with this and are seeking employment elsewhere. I don't want Turlock to be a training ground, but the city needs to wake up. We sit down at the bargaining table and are told we would love to pay you more, but the " me too" clauses of the other bargaining units are preventing this. It's not just my opinion I know. The city needs to stop hiding behind the " me too" clauses. In the many years of being employed by this city I have never been privy to a multiple year contract. But now when the economy is recovering the city is insisting on a three year contract. I would be willing to sign a one year contract. Take it one year at a time and access the budget year to year b/c the economy is recovering. I'm not being greedy. I just want the city to be fair. The three year contact will only continue to line the pockets of the city and allow them to add to the surplus in the budget on the backs of its employees. I think it's time that we take our views public and start letting our voices be heard on a much larger scale. I will no longer fear what people think of me and will voice my opinion when asked, and not fear being blackballed. Blessed be the peacekeepers as we are the sons of God!
  3. Reality Check says:
    Sorry. Public safety retirees are getting $60k and up beginning at age 50 until they die (or their spouse, whichever is later). There is no money for anything else. Pour your coffee grounds in your potholes.
  4. Guest says:
    Spoken like a true individual who is unable to pass the requisites to be a law enforcement officer. Keep your thoughts in mind the next time you are in fear for your life and need to call 911...
  5. Reality Check says:
    Argumentum ad hominem
  6. Reveal Your Badge Number, "thin blue line" says:
    Isn't enough, enough. Back in the Howze/Spycher/Chief Hampton days, the cops got whatever they wanted, straight off the backs of the nearly 30 people who were laid off. Remember that. I can just imagine what the police union is asking for from Sosieth/Jacobs. How much were those two and DeHart "bought" for.
  7. What happened to Campaign Finance Reform? says:
    Didn't one of the council members bring up the Tin Cup ordinance a while back? What happened to it? Can anyone tell me? I think it's needed with the "Kid" mayor and his young council.
  8. Bublak, conflict of interest? says:
    Does Bublak have a conflict of interest if she is a police officer and votes on the union contracts for Turlock police officers? I'm just saying, it smells funny, but again, she seems to break laws and not be punished.
  9. Bublak for President says:
    Bublak is a champion of the people. Fighting the good fight for the little guy against Unions, etc. You should recognize a smear campaign when you see one.

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