By Audrey Wong
SUISUN CITY - Suisun City police hired three officers Tuesday and may reach their authorized staffing level of 22 officers in February.
Suisun City Police Chief Ron Forsythe said Thursday he will ask the City Council in February to hire three additional officers and terminate its contact with the Solano County Sheriff's office.
With a full staff Suisun City police will respond to calls faster, increase their level of service and patrol the city around the clock, Forsythe said.
"Right now we're straining the shifts with overtime," Forsythe said.
The police department is finishing background checks on three candidates. Department officials offered an operations commander position to a Los Angeles police sergeant, Forsythe said.
A mix of retirements, an injury, pregnancy and officers leaving for other jobs stretched the small department thin. The department placed a minimum of three officers on the street per shift.
For two years, city officials contracted with Solano County Sheriffs for two deputies to patrol Suisun City during early morning hours. In 2004, Mayor Jim Spering suggested contracting out the city's police services completely.
In 2005, the department hired two retired police officers - Lt. Charlie Heitz from Hayward, an interim operations commander, and Larry Profitt, who heads investigations. One of Heitz's job duties is finding his replacement, who might be the LAPD sergeant.
"I think we've actually turned a corner," Heitz said, of the new hires. "Hopefully we'll be returning to a 24 hours-a-day operation."
One of hires is new to law enforcement while another is a 12-year veteran of the San Francisco Sheriffs office who served as a bailiff and doesn't have street experience, Forsythe said.
The officers will train with a senior officer for 14 to 16 weeks, Heitz said. The department also hired a sergeant, who has 13 years of experience.
Forsythe said the police force has many levels of experience and would like someone with mid-level experience to train the young officers.
If the city council decides to terminate the sheriff's contract, it would take three to four months to make the transition and may carry some additional costs, Forsythe said.
Reach Audrey Wong at 427-6951 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The new members of the Suisun City Police Department are:
- Sgt. Ted Stec, 42, has 13 years of law enforcement experience. He began his career with Red Bluff police in 1992. He was an investigator with the Shasta County District Attorney's Office for eight years. For several years he served as a boating safety officer for the Shasta County Sheriff's Office. Stec has a bachelor's degree in business and human resources from Simpson College and master's degree in public administration from National University.
- Officer Sean Smagalski, 32, was a deputy with the San Francisco Sheriff's Office. He has a bachelor's degree in criminal justice from Indiana University in 1997 and is a certified emergency medical technician.
- Officer Phillip Steemers, 25, is new to law enforcement. He worked for WestAmerica Bank in Suiusn City. He is a Fairfield resident and attended local schools. He graduated from the Napa Valley College Criminal Justice Training Center where he was recognized for his commitment to physical fitness.