Contract negotiations between the City of Palm Springs and the Police Officers Association started back in April and so far no deal.
Members of the Police Officers Union came out in full force for last week’s City Council meeting after it sent a letter to business owners threatening to launch a public relations campaign with billboards and ads in tourist magazines warning people to be careful when visiting Palm Springs.
The union told News Channel 3, due to cutbacks, the police force is down to 88 officers from a high of 98 sworn officers. In response, the City Council sent business owners a letter of its own, calling the union’s letter a scare tactic with false and misleading information. “As a result of the current economy we have been forced to reduce some services and we closed the jail in Palm Springs,” said Councilman Lee Weigel.
“But we didn’t reduce the number of officers working on the beats in the City of Palm Springs.”
Officer William Hutchinson, a spokesman for the Palm Springs Police Officers Association says officers are discouraged that they don’t have enough manpower or resources to properly protect the city. “We have a moral and ethical obligation to let members of the community know when public safety is in jeopardy,” said Hutchinson. “Who better to tell the public than the police officers themselves because certainly no one else is doing that.”
The Police Officers Association has offered to take a 5% pay cut in salaries in the form of furloughs with the idea the savings would be used to hire more officers. Negotiations between the two sides are expected to resume on Wednesday.