Officers Say Chico is Unsafe

Jun 11, 2013 7:44 PM

"Chico is not a safe place to live."
That is the sentiment of a written letter sent to the city council by the Chico Police Officers’ Association.
The letter highlights the impacts of a proposal that calls for more than $2 million in cuts to the police department.

"Unfortunately there are calls we are not going to be able to: burglary, petty theft..." CPOA President Peter Durfee said.

Durfee is hoping that doesn't become a reality, but says unless the Chico City Council has a change of heart the police department could shrink to just 47 patrol officers on the street by the end of the year.
He says that's scary considering the trend they've seen at the beginning of this year with 51 patrol officers on duty.

"Right now it is not safe out there. We've seen the crimes go up," Durfee said.

The CPOA president says it’s so dangerous his family will not even head into Downtown Chico without him.
Many residents say they share the same feelings.

"Houses are getting broken into, I've heard about more violent crime. I feel it has become more dangerous," Chico resident Amanda Clifford said.

Durfee says it is not just the cuts to the sworn officers that are putting residents in danger.
He says the elimination of three community service officers will mean that at some point officers will have to take arrestees down to the butte county jail themselves instead of patrolling the street.

"Which means you have a cop off the street for at least an hour and a half," Durfee said.

The city council is expected to consider the $2.5 million budget cut at an all day meeting June 18th.
Those cuts would lead to the elimination of 19 positions at the police department.
But Durfee is hopeful that the council will reverse course on the city managers recommendations in favor of safety.

"They are going to have to make the tough decisions. They have to prioritize, what is more important to them. Is it more important to have a nice park and a clean street or be safe in that nice park or clean street," Durfee said.


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