Martinez POA: Do You Know This Martinez Police Officer

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The following letter was submitted by the Martinez Police Officers Association

Chances are, you may have met them but they are no longer working in Martinez. Recently, we, the Martinez Police Officers Association (MPOA) have been asked by community members why it seems the Martinez Police Department always has new faces working our streets.  Some have asked, “What happened to Officer insert departed Officer’s name?” We have been asked, “Where is Ofc. Brinser and who will be working with the homeless?”  “Who’s working with the mentally challenged?” Finally, we are asked, “Where are the motorcycle cops we saw at the various schools in the morning?” We believe you deserve an explanation.

The Martinez Police Department is facing severe recruitment/retention issues.

There are currently six vacancies in a staff of 37 Officers. Of the remaining members, three are currently looking for employment with nearby cities.  Since 2014, 22 new officers have been employed by the City of Martinez as Police Officers.  Nine have sought better opportunity/pay/compensation with other cities, five have separated from the agency, and only eight remain as Officers which equates to a retention rate of 37%. Those Officers that chose to seek employment elsewhere have cited lack of competitive pay and lack of opportunities as the major deciding factors for leaving.

So what does this all mean?

Our administration has had to make cuts in service so that basic services in our city could continue.  Unfortunately, some of those cuts include not providing a dedicated School Resource Officer (SRO), not providing a dedicated Officer for homeless outreach, a dedicated Officer to work with the Mental Health Evaluation Team (MHET) program which works with people who suffer from mental illness, or a designated traffic Officer at our schools to help ensure your child’s safety – to list just a few. In most modern cities, Police Administration’s responsibility is to manage the day-to-day operations of the department.

I bet you, the public, would be shocked to know that your Police Command staff (including the Chief) are taking turns working patrol shifts just to fill the vacancies. The MPOA and Police Administration are committed to providing you the basic services that you deserve.

The City’s budget reserves have increased to above eight million, the economy is vibrant and on the upswing. In addition to Measure H funds, the City was even able to fund additional park improvements for the anticipated baseball team. So, to the MPOA, it seems that the community’s safety is not as important to city leadership as it should be.

The MPOA brought this issue forward to the City Manager after we compared our City’s competitiveness with local jurisdictions.  City staff conducted their own study and validated that we were approximately 17% behind the average salary and second from the bottom in this county.  The City Council recognizes the need for the City of Martinez to be competitive in order to attract highly qualified men and women to serve you as well as to retain the Officers who have chosen to stay and be a part of this community.

So what can you do? We encourage you to contact our City Council, the City Manager, and exercise your right to be heard at a City Council meeting.

For more on the Martinez Police Officers Association, visit: www.martinezpoa.org

 


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8 COMMENTS

  1. Wow, a city that actually can truthfully say that when they have a staff of 31 (accounting for the vacancies) officers means just that, 31 officers available to work the street … including Command Staff. Perhaps city councils and politicians will take heed of this situation that Martinez is facing the next time they campaign on balancing the budget on the backs of city employees (especially those EXPENSIVE police officers with all their perks and lofty retirements).

  2. The people I know in Martinez have always been happy with MPD. Sorry to hear they can’t retain their officers. Martinez is the one town in the area that’s gotten better through the years, while others towns go downhill.

    Maybe they can get some money from Concord. Concord residents complain that CPD is grossly overpaid.

  3. This appears to be a case of basic economics in terms of supply and demand.
    The supply, in terms of quality men and women who are willing to undergo years of training and then strap a firearm on their waist is severely limited. Why? Because this profession strives to hire the best and the brightest simply because this is a dangerous job. (Think in terms of a solo officer making a traffic stop at 2:45 in the morning on Waterfront Rd. adjacent to Hwy. 680). It is also a job that demands, among many other qualities, compassion, a authoritative calm demeanor, and a clear understanding of our law.

    If you’re a Police Chief or City Council member you should be looking to assure yourself that only the best are hired for your Department.

    The problem for Martinez is that demand is great for this type of resource. If the Police Chief for say, San Ramon, decides that he wants the best then he approaches his City Council or City Manager and explains the situation. At that meeting he would be pointing out that the outcome, should they decide not to follow his recommendation, would be a situation similar to that of the City of Martinez with a retention rate of just 37%.

    Bottom line – it’s expensive to live in the Bay Area and its understandable to see Officers using the City of Martinez as a stepping stone in their career path.

    Lastly – Kudos to their Police Chief for covering the spots created by this situation.

  4. The problem is pay and benefits. The wealthy cities pay more and force the strapped cities to dig a deeper debt to compete. We should all enjoy the same level of services. The Same reason goes for fire chiefs, school administrators, and public entity management. The state needs to implement standard maximum wage increase for all public employees that is fair for all. Possibly connect the increase to cost of living or similar. Pretty soon we will have far less public services because all the tax money will go to support retired personnel. This is a serious problem that needs to be dealt with.

    • It’s not true that wealthy cities pay more. Concord PD out earns a lot of police forces, and Concord isn’t a wealthy town. The Concord residents on Claycord.com seem to blame the Concord city council for their pay. No idea how it works, but all police officers are making a lot more than they ever made before. Especially in CA. It’s not uncommon for police officers to make over 100K in CA.

  5. Hire those who will shake hands at the the Farmers Market- From experience, these brothers in blue are proven to be loyal regardless of pay.

  6. Nick, can you afford to live in the Bay Area on less than 100k? I’d rather have them live local and be invested in the community there serving.

    • A lot of people live in the Bay Area on less than 100K. By the way, it’s “they’re serving.” Get an education.

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