Home Antioch Antioch Police Chief Discusses Crime, Staffing Levels, Addresses Social Media Statements

Antioch Police Chief Discusses Crime, Staffing Levels, Addresses Social Media Statements

by ECT

Tuesday night, Antioch Police Chief Allen Cantando provided his 3rd-quarter report during a 45-minute presentation to the city council which included an update on crime statistics, hiring, and addressing statements made on social media.

antioch-part-1-crime-sept-2016During the first part of the presentation, the Chief highlighted that ts Part 1 Crime statistics from January 1 through September 2016 compared to 2015. The data shows Part 1 Crime is down 1.2%. Arrests are also down by 3.4%.

It was after his report where he discussed what is being said online may be different than what is being said in the community because people can see and feel a difference.

“I will tell you as I am out in the community and often times in uniform, people approach me and they can see a difference, they can feel a difference. I tell them look at what the numbers are saying, don’t listen to the blogs, and look at the statistics. We track this very carefully,” explained Cantando. “I tell them what they are seeing and feeling is absolutely correct. This is what is happening. But there are individuals that are saying things for whatever reason that are crime is up which is not the case. We are going to continue to express that on individuals, especially as we bring new officers on and showcase some of those arrests.”

Cantando touched on reserve officers encouraging the public to understand that if you have a reserve officer they have the same qualification to be a full time officer in the state and many individuals choose to become full time police officers and not do it for free.

antioch-police-hiring-oct-2016Cantando discussed the staffing levels, which he considers his biggest conversation with the public on why more officers are not hired faster.

“I have to compliment our HR department because they are working diligently to get people hired.

“We are hiring faster in our department than any other department in the county, there is no doubt about it,” said Cantando. “Since November 2013, contrary to some comments I’ve heard, we have hired 41 police officers. That is huge. If people understood the amount of work and processes we have to go through to hire an individual, this is a huge amount of work. But I can’t control time, people that go out on retirements that could be a service retirement or disability retirement. We have had 8-people who have resigned; this wasn’t the department for them because it was very busy. We have had to let people go for a discipline matter. We have had to let people go who were not making it through the field training program and we did that for their safety as well as other officers. So we have had a total of 30 separations but with a Net of 11 officers.”

Cantando said the public should better understand why the department are having these people work for Antioch—because they are getting paid. He explained that he doesn’t understand why people complain about spending money because people have to get paid while working for the city.

“Since 2013, we have had these 41 officers on our books at different times and that is going to affect the general fund. So that is where the money is being spent,” said Cantando.


Chief Allan Cantando

He said they have had 829 applicants over 9-months saying they are going through a lot of applicants.

“I explain to people that it’s not a matter of getting the applicants. It’s a matter of getting qualified applicants,” explained Cantando. “If you look around at police agencies around the state and nation, sometimes you see police departments that are on the news for whatever reason, often times it could be something the public disapproves of or could be bad, A lot of time that is due to their hiring practices. We are going to hire the best people that can come work for Antioch and the work load. We are not going to put people on the street just to say they are hired.  We need to hire people who are going to perform and be able to do the job for us.”

Mayor Wade Harper asked if the police department was using background investigators to help with hiring process. This is in reference to public comments where people have claimed the police department does not use an outside firm to help with hiring.

Cantando said although he has heard information on social media they were not, they have been doing it for about 15-years highlighting the benefits. He stated last year they spent around $15,000 in outside services.

“What people do need to understand is from the start to finish of hiring a police officers, there are lulls in what they need to do and what we need to do. There is a lot of downtime. That is why using a contractor on an hourly basis is the best way of doing that. This hasn’t slowed us down in any way. A lot of times it’s the doctors we use for psychological, medicals. As far as the internal process goes, we are going full speed. Yes we do use them and have been for years. I don’t know why that comment was brought up.”

Councilwoman Monica Wilson asked the chief about hiring and to discuss what he plans to do going forward by hiring new officers versus laterals.

Cantando replied this was brought up recently of how the department can forecast its hires.

“What makes it difficult is if you have a service retirement that is very easy because you know what that person is going to retire this date. Well that is not always the case. I could have retired on my birthday in June but I didn’t,” explained Cantando. “We can’t hire somebody if someone is still on the books because we have to remain in our budget. We are trying to get to 102 officers.”

He noted some conversation about once the Department gets to 102-officers they keep hiring. He said they can’t do that because of the budget and authorization number. He noted when they can forecast a disability or someone who is injured and they know is not coming back, they can begin the process sooner.

“What the public needs to understand is this council is forced to deal with decisions that were made by councils many years ago and our staffing levels are what they are. What the public may not realize is we went through that economic downturn where we lost police officers. We were not to hire back. We basically had to have the attrition and not hire. It’s not because we are not hiring a lot of police officers, because we are. It’s just we have so many to hire to catch back up to where we were. Had we not done it at the time, the city would be bankrupt and our general fund would not be able to support the officers we had at the time,” explained Cantando. “We are doing everything we can based on the knowledge that we have. But if someone could retire, we cannot force anyone out, we can’t predict medical retirements, we can’t predict if someone will make a field training program or not. There are a lot of unknowns but we are making headway.”

Wilson also asked about homelessness, Cantando said in the future two officers will be dedicated to working on homelessness.

Mayor Pro Tem Lori Ogorchock asked about Community Service Officers (CSO) and whether or not the community should have less officers and more CSO’s.

Cantando said he has heard the rumors.

“What I try to say to people is yes you need CSO, but you need police officers. A CSO can do a certain amount of things; they are a non-sworn position and trained as a police officers. Sometimes CSO’s get lumped into our volunteers,” said Cantando. “We can’t always send a volunteer to handle a violent crime; we need police officers and deal with a lot of issues people are complaining about.”

Cantando further highlighted that when they reach 102-officers, if the council made the decision to hire more CSO’s as help to officers, he was all for it. But until they hit 102-officers, they have to focus on hiring officers.

“People are saying hire more CSO’s, but keep in mind if we hire CSO’s, there will be less police officers working the street. When I hear people come up (to the Dias) and tell there sad stories, the only thing I can think of is having more police officers out there responding to those crimes,” said Cantando.

Cantando did admit they need CSO’s, but encouraged the council to focus on hiring police officers because when a police officer is out there they can do anything a CSO can do.

Councilman Tony Tiscareno said he appreciated the chief’s tolerance level and that he believed the police statistics.

“I depend on your expertise in the office of the police department to do their job. You are transparent and believe the numbers you are presenting our good numbers. Antioch is a wonderful city and we do have some issues. We are rebuilding our police department,” said Tiscareno. “We are not like we were 10-yaers ago, a lot of people do not understand why. To have 41 officers hired, I’ve talked to other cities, they are not pulling those numbers, they may even be offended because we are pulling some of their officers out of their cities and counties to come to the City of Antioch.”

Tiscareno also stated how proud he was of the department.

“I am very proud of you guys, you are doing a lot of good work. The crime suppression are very valuable, we are very productive in that,” said Tiscareno. “I want to thank you for the work you do, even though I understand the criticism, but we all know what you do.”

Councilwoman Mary Rocha stated she was pleased with the outreach to the community while highlighting how Cantando has brought “heart” to the department.

Antioch Mayor Wade Harper stated as a council, they were all pleased with the direction of the police department.

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R j b Oct 27, 2016 - 7:20 am

Then why does it still take 1-2 hours for an officer to arrive when a suspicious situation (possibly a drug deal) is happening in my neighborhood? Why does it take 2-3 hours for officers to arrive when a call is made about a suspicious man who goes through the neighborhood garbage every week? Why does it take 1-3 hours when a call is made for illlegal racing and sideshows?

With all these officers we have, what good is it when they’re hours away?

in case it doesn't matter Oct 27, 2016 - 8:18 pm

if your so worried about what others do, try contacting them and find out why it looked odd to you. Since your calling without any crime, the reason for response is the police have criminals to catch before asking people if they are authorized to inspect the trash.

Rjb Oct 28, 2016 - 7:25 am

Don’t cherry pick your argument and expect to come out on top. Learn how to use capitals. Furthermore, you know the exact reason why it takes them so long? Are you APD now?

Where did Antioch go wrong??????? Oct 28, 2016 - 9:51 pm

RJB, it is plain a simple. No need to argue about calls. The person you argue with also knows the city is in the tubes and the police services are lacking. This is not because the police department but due to choices the city has made. I don’t agree with some things Cantando says. Cantando is a company man but he needs to take some responsibility for the working conditions or work load that caused those 8 officers to leave ( well as he says because Antioch is very busy). Antioch went from 127 officers to approx. 90 when the economy went in to the toilet. It took many years to build up to the 127. I don’t think they will ever make it back to that number. Even if that person is APD now, they are or should be as frustrated as you are.

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