CHICO, Calif. - The city approved to move forward with an emergency warming centers vote and the police chiefs request for a reorganization of staff.
The Chico City Council voted on Tuesday to move forward with adding resources to help people living on the streets fight the cold weather. Leaders said there have been at least four deaths in the city from exposure, one as recent as last week.
The city has a contract with the Jesus Center to open warming and cooling centers throughout the year.
Tuesday the council voted to extend the criteria for opening warming centers.
Shelters operators agree to work with the Jesus Center to lean on each other and provide resources and staffing when need be.
"Well we don't have enough shelter beds and so without shelter beds, people don't have a place to go and so at least this will provide a warm place and or a cool place depending on the season for people and to get out of the extreme elements," Joy Amaro with Torres Shelter said.
"I would imagine that if they do this immediately for the time being at least Jesus Center would take on the extra days and then beyond that discuss whether safe space is available to do it or torres or a collaboration of all of us," Angela McLaughlin with Safe Space said.
The council will next re-evaluate the contract and present it to the Jesus Center. The vote was in favor, 7-0.
CHICO POLICE DEPARTMENT RESTRUCTURING
Also at tonight's city council meeting, the chief of police requested to restructure his department staffing.
City council voted 7-0 approving Chief Mike O'Brien's request in making changes, which O'Brien said will ultimately help the department become more efficient.
O'Brien said these changes were long overdue, but he says the timing was just right following a recent retirement in a management position which will be eliminated.
The approved changes will also eliminate one vacant officer position and add a deputy chief of police position.
"We eliminate two positions for the price of one it will save us about $70,000 and then I am additionally recommending that those saving be applied towards and information systems specialist fit essentially to help the technology-related needs of public safety," O'Brien said.
Technology needs for both police and fire.
O'Brien said it's never desirable to release a vacant officer position but the elimination will not impact the department immediately.
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