3 Parlier police officers will get pink slips

March 21, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Three Parlier police officers will get pink slips on Friday, March 22nd. The already short staffed department is struggling to maintain basic services.

As a result, the department initiated one major change- it's called a "Citizen Report Form." Unless there's an emergency, Parlier residents will have to otherwise fill out their own police reports. It's one of many new procedures, as officers are forced to do more with less.

Sergeant Thomas Rodriguez tells Action News, he's never seen his city's finances sink so low. Police have already reduced overtime, given up holidays and uniform allowances and they're already taking furlough days. None of it was enough to backfill the city budget.

Three officers were laid off this week. Police say that means- there's one less cop on the overnight shift, the time when criminals are out looking for an opportunity.

Rodriguez said, "They're not going to see officers on the road, that feel of security for them is diminishing because there's not a lot of patrol units on the streets anymore."

He says technically, the force is down six officers. Before the layoffs, three people were sent to reserve positions. Meaning the force of 15 has now dwindled to nine.

"Two weeks ago we had a homicide," said Rodriguez. "We have a lot of gang activity, a lot domestic violence, narcotics activity."

He says response time will be affected. If there's not an emergency, citizens will report crime through a blank form that Parlier residents can pick up at the police department.

Rodriguez is also worried about officer safety, when just two officers patrol a city of about 18 thousand. "For us to go to another emergency call and split us up our safety is at risk the public safety is at risk because anything else can happen between two officers being separated."

City leaders say they had no choice, they're facing bankruptcy. The deficit is 800 thousand dollars.

Sergeant Rodriguez says, even with less of a force, he stands behind his job, and his mission. He has this message for the people of Parlier. "We'll get to you as soon as we can and we're not going to stop protecting you."

City leaders also say they'll re-evaluate the law enforcement situation in six months.


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