Police Chief John Incontro presented the Police Department’s budget requests for fiscal year 2016-17 at the April 13 San Marino City Council meeting.
Chief Incontro requested funding for three new positions, including two sworn police officers and a civilian records clerk. Reclassifications and promotions are also included in the desired changes.
If all personnel requests are approved by the council, it will cost the city $266,164 and bump the department’s employee count from 38 to 41. Incontro also requested $226,215 for supplies and $233,500 for capital improvements, for a total budget request of $725,879 for the upcoming fiscal year.
Prior to making his requests, Chief Incontro acknowledged the city’s budget constraints.
“I understand the importance of justifying each [request] and putting it in order of preference,” he said.
Chief Incontro went on to present a series of examples in his hour-long presentation, speaking to current deficiencies and their impact on compliance with state and federal mandates and delivery of services.
His presentation showed a 12.5 percent increase in crime since last year, primarily attributed to increases in auto theft, residential burglary and aggravated assault. This increase has led to more reports, higher officer response times and a 15 percent increase in calls for service.
Nevertheless, Vice Mayor Richard Sun wanted more concrete evidence, specifically asking for data on the number of reports processed and the amount of time to process a report.
Greater scrutiny of the importance of each request will be necessary moving forward, according to Mayor Allen Yung. City Manager John Schaefer agreed, informing the City Council that they did not have enough money to approve all of the requests.
The Police Chief’s personnel requests include hiring a new records clerk to support the SMPD with public records requests, criminal and case filings and assisting detectives with document handling. The position would cost $53,000 annually.
In his request for this position, he said, “we just have a lot of work that we are not keeping up with and when we’re not able to complete the data entry of crime reports, it’s a delay for detectives to get working on the investigation.”
Chief Incontro also requested funds to hire two additional police officers. These officers would work primarily on bicycles, patrolling Lacy Park, business areas, and any problem areas, and assisting students on their way to and from school.
The Chief hopes that the new officers will decrease overtime for current officers and decrease service call response time to under two minutes. Together, these officers would cost $188,000 annually.
The personnel changes also include reclassifying Lt. Aaron Blondè and Lt. Richard Ward to the rank of captain. The captain position, which involves management duties currently undertaken by the two lieutenants, has not been filled or funded for more than five years.
A promotion for Records Supervisor Angelica Gonzalez was also requested. Under this proposed budget, Gonzalez would be promoted to the title of Administrative Manager. Incontro noted the multitude of management-related tasks performed by Gonzalez as justification for the change, which would cost an additional $8,692 per year.
In recent weeks, three sworn police officers were hired with funds allocated from the 2015-16 budget. The Department has yet to fill the two police officer positions and two civilian dispatcher positions with that allocation.
The SMPD will also soon need to replace its radios, which in 2018 will lack interoperability with other agencies. Incontro also wants to purchase analytics software, a two-layer password system, and alarm software system to help predict crime, protect content on Department computers, and handle alarm system permits, respectively.
Finally, a request was made to replace one patrol vehicle and two detective vehicles; the conversion of two unused holding cells into an interview room (which the Department is currently lacking) and a new portable camera system which can be used at special events and for tracking traffic movement on the roads and in Lacy Park.