The City Council has agreed to pay for a series of crime-fighting measures suggested by City Manager James Goins, including adding seven new police officers and installing police substations in three city parks.
Funds for the new officers, who will bring the force to 145, were contained in the $113,087,247 budget approved by the council last week. Also included in the budget is nearly $1 million to build and equip police substations in West, Gonzales and a yet-to-be-built park in a new housing development named Sunny Cove.
Two years ago the city put substations in Lueders and Kelly parks. Police say the constant police presence ended gang activity in those parks.
The council also approved a Goins' suggestion to hire 12 new part-time recreation aides, which will allow the city to expand its after-school and weekend youth programs in an attempt to keep young people from drifting into gangs. Police have identified 35 gangs that operate in Compton.
The council also approved more than $50,000 to support neighborhood block clubs, which police and city officials are promoting as weapons to fight gang and drug-related activity.
Besides the seven new officers, who will cost about $350,000 for the first year, the Police Department will get four new bilingual communications operators, four more clerks and a mechanic to maintain the department's helicopters. The police have one helicopter but two more have been ordered and are expected to arrive in the late summer.
Last June the council approved a $95.8-million budget for the city but within two months the spending plan was scrapped when it became clear there was not enough money budgeted to meet the payroll for the year. To increase its revenues, the city issued $40 million in redevelopment bonds and shifted $6 million of that into its general fund.
Budget officials say they do not yet know how much money was actually spent last year because not all the bills are in and paid.