Oxnard PD Union warns public on reduced service

By George Miller

The Oxnard Peace Officers Association (the Oxnard police officers’ union) announced that the manpower reductions driven by the Oxnard General Fund budget cuts have been implemented and that service will suffer as a result. While management, officers and staff have done what they could to avoid adversely  impacting public safety and crime fighting, it is hard to see how some of this would not happen.

All of this occurs as regional crime was already on an upswing, for numerous reasons, some of which are mentioned in OPO President Chris Williams’ (he is a Sergeant in the OPD Violent Crimes unit) letter, below. Keep in mind that Oxnard already has one of the highest crime rates in the county and lowest ratio of sworn officers to population in the state.

OPD8-18-15

8-18-15 letter from Oxnard Peace Officers Association

We have conveyed to you similar warnings from the Firefighters’ Association, too, regarding the impact on service.

Sergeant Williams told CitizensJournal.us that the findings to date of the forensic audit of city finances initiated by the Police and Firefighters’ Associations suggests that the city’s financial state is nowhere near as dire as city staff and outside consultant Management Partners have portrayed and that they “grossly overstated financial problems.” He said their auditor’s attempts to obtain the proprietary models, tools and techniques employed by Management Partners to analyze and develop budgets have been unsuccessful.

He further said that if their case is proven, they would pressure officials “to make the city whole again,” to reinstate positions eliminated in the current budget. He believes that the Council acted too quickly to make the cuts without sufficient study to verify findings, conclusions and recommendations. This led to serious cuts to public safety departments (police and fire). He also wants to see more of a city focus on “getting back to basics and essential core services.”

Williams feels that the $4 million spent on consultants and more on various outsourcing has made the situation worse. Others have said that it unearthed serious problems and is developing policies, procedures, training and controls for improvements going forward.

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George Miller is Publisher of Citizensjournal.us and a “retired” operations management consultant, active in civic affairs, living in Oxnard.

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