MADERA, Calif. (KFSN) -- From the police station to the fire station, big changes are coming to both departments in the city of Madera.
Last November, voters approved Measure K, a half-cent sales tax increase to expand public safety services. The bond measure passed with over 80-percent of the vote and will generate about $3.5-million each year.
Lt. Brian Esteves, with the Madera Police Department, said because of that, this week the department has been interviewing more than 100 people for 10 new spots on the force.
"We've been interviewing 27 a day-- it's going to give our officers more time to be out in the streets making reports, contacting people, and being proactive."
The city reports the violent crime rate in Madera has increased by 47-percent in the past year.
"Its perfect timing that we are increasing our staff, and hopefully, we can bring those number to at least where they were a year or two ago," said Esteves.
"We are pretty happy-- we are looking to build a new station very soon," said Capt. Jerry Fernandez, Madera Fire Department.
Fernandez said the funds will also go towards building a roughly three million dollar fire house on the north side of town, purchasing a new ladder truck, and hiring eight new firefighters.
These are major changes to two departments that have not seen significant improvements like this in decades.
The police department said once recruitment for those 10 new officers ends those selected will start the academy in June and graduate in December The department will then officially go from having 60 officers on the force to 70.
Bond measure helping Madera fire and police make much needed changes
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