For Immediate Release - July 27, 2023
Contact: (707) 644-3913 [email protected]
Vallejo City Council Declaration of Emergency
Damaging to Public Safety
Vallejo, CA – The declaration of an emergency will do nothing to improve the safety and security of Vallejo residents, businesses, and visitors. Instead, it will result in more officers leaving the Department for better working conditions, a stable working environment, and where their efforts are appreciated.
Rather than engage in fair, meaningful, and productive labor negotiations with the Vallejo Police Officers’ Association (VPOA) and ignoring prior warnings, the Vallejo City Council declared a local state of emergency in response to an unprecedented level of police officer resignations and retirements and lack of qualified replacements.
A July 26, 2023, press release from the Vallejo Police Department states, “I (the Chief of Police) am optimistic that city leadership, elected officials, and the police department can collaboratively formulate a public safety plan that can immediately enhance community safety . . . city staff and the City Council agreed they should look unto creative ways to recruit such as higher pay for lateral officers and incentives to retain current officers. . .”
But actions speak louder than words. This is an “emergency” created by the City Council and directly attributable to the Council’s refusal to adopt a reasonable bilateral labor agreement that fairly compensates Vallejo Police Officers for their work and the dangers they face. Just hours before the “emergency” declaration, the Councilmembers rejected a Vallejo Police Officers’ Association's proposed labor agreement that included substantial concessions regarding wages, hours, and working conditions. Labor negotiations have been going on for 15 months with no meaningful results. Hopefully, this will change, and we can move forward in a positive direction.
Also, according to the City’s press release, “The Emergency Proclamation will help expedite the process of finding ways to utilize resources . . . from nearby law enforcement agencies . . .” Apparently, Councilmembers, after 15 months of failed labor negotiations, are willing to reimburse “neighboring law enforcement agencies” at salary and benefit levels higher than they are willing to pay current Vallejo officers. Police Department staffing problems do not constitute an “emergency” under either the Vallejo Municipal Code or State law. Vallejo is not eligible for “free” mutual aid. More importantly, neighboring agencies have staffing challenges of their own and are unlikely to be able to provide Vallejo with any additional resources. Ironically, most of the officers that have resigned from the VPD were paid to attend the police academy by Vallejo, received field training and then took their couple years of experience to go work for neighboring agencies, like Fairfield, Vacaville, Napa and Sonoma.
Citizens of Vallejo, the Council comments at Tuesday night’s meeting made it abundantly clear that the Police Department does not have sufficient staff to effectively respond to citizens' calls for service, control crime or ensure traffic safety. We need your help now more than ever. Tell your Council members that enough is enough. Remind them to put your safety and Vallejo first.
The chart below shows the steady decline in officers since December 2019.
The Vallejo Police Officers’ Association (VPOA) was incorporated in 1957. The VPOA is the recognized bargaining unit between all Vallejo Police Officers and the City of Vallejo.
Members include all ranks of officers – Captains, Lieutenants, Sergeants, Corporals and Officers.
The VPOA does not represent the Chief of Police or the Deputy Police Chiefs.
The business function of the VPOA is to protect the collective interests of the members of the Vallejo Police Department and provide benefits to its members. The VPOA is also committed to the safety
and security of the citizens of Vallejo and the protection of life and property.
For more information, please visit www.vallejopoa.org