The Palm Springs City Council has voted to put more police on the street at Wednesday’s meeting.
The new hires would be paid for using funds from Measure D, the half cent sales tax approved in November. The police department is looking to add four new police officers to work the downtown area.
“This gives us the ability to have dedicated officers downtown, not to rely on our patrols to go down there for service,” said Chief Bryan Reyes, Palm Springs Police Department.
The department is also adding 2 new community resource officers.
“Those personnel generally go an handle non-emergency situations, and those investigations help free up police officers to be able to respond to in-progress emergencies,” said Sgt. William Hutchinson, with the department.
Currently the department is having staffing issues, with three officers who are still on leave after a deadly shooting in October of 2016 that took the lives of officers Jose ‘Gil’ Vega and Lesley Zerebny. Plus, an additional 11 officers are out due to injuries.The city’s fire department is also looking to add 6 new firefighter/paramedics to fire station No. 1. This would be a new paramedic unit, which was in place at that fire station until 2010 when it was removed due to budgetary reasons.
People at the city council meeting showed support for new officers and firefighters.
“I think that if the chief and the fire chief need this, then we as residents need to support that,” said Shawn Nicholson of Palm Springs.“I think we need that. It seems like there is a lot of problems in Palm Springs right now and it’s hard for the police force to keep up with all that,” said Robert Bell of Palm Springs.
People in the city wouldn’t immediately see new officers on the street. It takes about three-five months to go through the background checks and hiring process and another three-five months for training.
The vote also allows the city to hire another accountant.