From Daily Republic // Saturday, Sept. 15, 2005
By Ian Thompson
SUISUN CITY - Suisun City doesn't need more police officers to protect residents and business owners, it just needs to fill two vacancies and get those officers now on light duty back on patrol, according to a consultant's report.
And once the department's patrol force is up to strength, the City Council can consider ending a contract with the Solano County Sheriff's Department to patrol the city in the early morning.
The Suisun City Council will examine the consultant's report during a study session Tuesday when it considers how best to staff the Suisun City Police Department.
The consultant started the study in September. The council wanted a quick examination of staffing now to provide a baseline to use when looking at how to improve public safety.
At that time, Suisun City Police Chief Ron Forsythe told the council the department needed two more police officers to help his overworked force better protect the city.
At the Sept. 8 study session, Forsythe said his 22-officer department was in crisis mode because it was stretched to the limit with tight funding, losses due to retirements, injuries and officers leaving for other jobs.
The chief hoped for a council commitment to bring back a 24-hour police department, only to be told the council had to first figure out what it could afford.
Suisun City is in its second year of contracting with the Solano County Sheriff's Department to patrol the city in the early morning hours.
Mayor Jim Spering forcefully told the study's consultant he wanted an objective analysis of what was needed to protect Suisun City.
According to the study, Suisun City has a high level of service with 17 patrol officers and sergeants.
Five of these 17 are either in training or on limited duty, and two positions are vacant, the study said. Four of these officers should be back on duty by early next year. It recommended filling two vacancies.
The study said it will take 16 to 17 patrol officers and sergeants to adequately patrol Suisun City around the clock without help from the Solano County Sheriff's Office.
This is based on having three officers available to patrol the streets each shift.
”With 15 actual positions, the Suisun Police Department can provide 24-hour field services which allows for a minimum of three personnel per hour,“ the survey said.
While it is the city's goal to provide its own law enforcement, it is important to continue mutual aid from surrounding police agencies to provide back-up, the study concluded.
Reach Ian Thompson at 427-6976 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.