Members of the Oakdale City Council recently approved Police Chief Marty West’s request to reassign an officer to a grant-funded position within the Stanislaus County Anti-Drug Abuse Enforcement Agency (SDEA), which will likely save the officer’s employment but will result in one less officer for Oakdale.
The SDEA is a Joint Powers Agreement (JPA) comprised of 13 law enforcement agencies within the county that was established to combat drug abuse countywide.
The grant, funded by the Governor’s Emergency Management Agency (Cal EMA), and administered by a Crime and Intelligence Analyst with the Modesto Police Department was awarded to the SDEA to fund a full-time, salaried police officer position ($238,319) for a period of 22 months beginning in May and ending Feb. 29, 2012. The total grant award was $313,492. The grant will also pay the officer’s overtime costs for court appearances, surveillance operations, and long-term investigations.
“The greatest benefit (to Oakdale) is that it enhances our relationship with the countywide drug task force at a time when the city does not have the revenue to fund full-time investigators to address drug problems in our community,” Chief West said of the decision to lend an officer for this position. “For the next two years, the Oakdale Police Department will have the benefit of an Oakdale officer assigned to the task force who has an interest in focusing on drug-related problems in the Oakdale area.”
According to West, Master Officer Joe Carrillo was selected for the position.
“Officer Carrillo will also be a resource for Oakdale officers in terms of drug-related developments in and around the Oakdale area. He will develop skills and knowledge during the assignment that he will bring back to the Police Department at the end of his assignment,” West continued.
Although losing Carrillo will mean one less officer on the streets locally, this is better than the alternative, which is the loss of the officer’s livelihood as budget cuts are promising to be even more brutal this year than they were the last go around.
West defended the decision saying, “The grant that is creating this position will likely prevent an Oakdale officer from being laid off. The city is facing a $1.1 million budget deficit for fiscal year 2010-11. To ensure a balanced budget, the Police Department must reduce its expenditures by 15 percent beginning July 1. At a recent city council budget workshop, I informed the council that reductions that significant would result in laying off as many as five officers. The decision to accept this grant and transfer the officer to the drug task force will result in the loss of one patrol officer in Oakdale. However, I prefer this option to that of laying off an officer. The bottom line is that the Oakdale community is not generating enough sales and property tax revenues to support a fully staffed police department. My staff and I are constantly searching for options to try to deliver services with less resources.”
As a result of the budget crisis, the city does not intend to backfill the position formerly held by Carrillo, which will bring the current sworn staffing to 24.