Over the weekend, Antioch City Councilman Mike Barbanica released a video proposing an increase of the Antioch Police Department officers by 2.5% until they reach the state standard of 1.48 officers per 1,000 residents.
Antioch currently is allocated for 115 officers. Under the Barbanica proposal, Antioch would increase each year until it his 170 sworn officers.
His video (see below) was pre-recorded and was released the same day fellow councilmember Tamisha Torres-Walker went live on Facebook calling for the hiring of 4-officers.
During his 10-minute video, he highlighted how during the election, he wanted several things:
- Upstaffing for public safety
- Increase size of code enforcement
- Purchase body cameras for police department
“From the moment I was elected to the time it actually happened, I made six formal requests to get body cameras on the agenda,” said Barbanica noting that other members of the council supported this and it was a 5-0 vote. “I did want to take it a step further and unfortunately that got voted down, but I am not going to give up. A step further was upgrading our current technology for tasers. That current technology is old and antiquated and its important in my opinion have other options, what are called less lethal options than a firearm. Less lethal meaning officers have another tool that they can utilize.”
Barbanica noted they currently have these, but they are old and breaking down and they do not even have parts anymore.
“The big key was synced automatically with the body cameras,” stated Barbanica. “So we know when an officer gets out of their car at anytime, if that body camera is not accidentally activated, if they don’t push the button and the taser comes out, it automatically starts the footage, plus it goes back 30-seconds. That is what I was pushing for. We already have the tasers, I just want to upgrade the technology. I want to capture everything on video.”
He continued by explaining he spoke with Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton who he says shared she was surprised they did not get approved. He says she told him not to give up and to keep trying to get them.
With code enforcement, Barbanica says he asked for doubling of staffing—which was approved in a 4-1 vote. He called it needed anyone can just drive through the community to see the need.
“Seven code enforcement officers for 100,000 people is not enough,” said Barbanica.
He then went over numbers during COVID-19 when police departments had “stand down” order which meant not much proactive details.
He says Antioch Police responded to 92,550 calls for services in 2020 which included:
- 10,943 reports
- 3,387 arrests
- 12000+ traffic stops
- Nearly 5,500 citations
- 1,400 cars towed
“Keep in mind, this is during 2020 when people were home,” said Barbanica. “In looking at the numbers, there is a lot of activity within the community.”
He called himself not only pro police, but pro community.
“Does it really effect an officer tremendously if we hire 5, 6, 7 cops, does it really effect the officer. Not as much as you think. But who does benefit is the community,” said Barbanica. “I do applaud prior councils for bringing these numbers to where they are at now, I don’t want to overlook that, it’s been multiple councils that have gotten us to this point.”
He said coming from law enforcement, he looks at it where they are at compared to state standards or per capita which is 1 officer per 1,000 people.
“The state standard from a recent grand jury report, statewide is 1.48 officers per 1,000 people. In Contra Costa County, the average is 1.09 officers. In Antioch, 1.01 officers. We are not only below state, we are below county standards as well,” explained Barbanica.
“I believe we as a community deserve better than this for public safety and this isn’t to benefit the police department, its for all of us living in a safe community. It brings residents in, businesses in, jobs in, helps keep our children safe, our families safe,” said explained Barbanica. “I believe we need to get up to that 1.48 number.”
He proposed the council commit to increasing the police department officers by 2.5% each year until they hit the state standard. He also said they needed to get the 6 SRO positions back that they rejected after winning a grant.
He said he would bring the proposal to council soon and was seeking support.