Vallejo, CA –The Vallejo Police Officers’ Association is deeply concerned by the loss of experienced officers to other law enforcement agencies. In the last two weeks, five experienced police officers have resigned to take new positions with other law enforcement agencies. This is a great loss to the department and the city of Vallejo as the officers take with them over 50 years in combined experience. Additional experienced officers are in the process of retiring and leaving for other agencies.
The Vallejo Police Department now has only 104 sworn officers, but that number is not representative of the actual number of working police officers in the city. This is because it also includes the chief, the two new deputy chief positions, and 8 police officer trainees that are in the field training program. This is the lowest staffing of police officers (93) for VPD in the last several years and the VPOA is gravely concerned for not only the safety of our members but also the safety of the citizens of Vallejo. The VPOA wants to provide the best possible police services to the city of Vallejo, protect the members of our community, and ensure the safety of our officers – all of which are severely inhibited by this staffing crisis.
This comes at a time when Chief Shawny Williams has made the decision to shut down several units within the Department that provide critical services to the people who live and work within the city of Vallejo. Chief Williams decided to remove the officers from and shut down the Traffic Division and Community Services Section within the Department. Additionally, new vacancies within the Investigations Section are not being filled and this has left the Department with only 5 detectives to investigate all of the major crimes that occur within the city – in light of the fact that Vallejo recorded the second highest number of murders in the City’s history in 2020. The Vallejo Police Officers’ Association is worried that the lack of these services will lead to dangerous conditions.
The Vallejo Police Officers’ Association has reached out to city leadership in an attempt to assist with the staffing crisis. Unfortunately, Chief Williams and city leaders are focused solely on hiring new police officer trainees that must attend a six-month police academy and then pass a 6–12-month field training program before they are able to function as police officers within the city. The VPOA expressed the immediate need to hire lateral officers from other jurisdictions that can immediately contribute to the city. The VPOA recommended the city adopt a lateral hiring bonus and even offered to split the cost of the bonus for the first lateral hired under the new program. Despite the continued loss of experienced officers and the failure of the department to recruit and attract qualified laterals, the city and Chief Williams have not taken any steps to solve this recruitment and retention problem.