GLENDALE — Police Chief Ron De Pompa this week said the department may begin recruiting new hires this summer to fill long vacant positions, although the plan will depend on how the city closes a projected $10-million budget gap.
The Police Department cut positions for 17 sworn officers and 21 professional staff during the last round of budget cuts at City Hall, and hasn’t had any major hiring in three years, he said.
The Police Department also maintained 10 to 12 positions vacant to help balance the budget. But in addressing the Glendale Police Advisory Committee on Monday night, De Pompa said he hoped to start recruiting and hiring this summer.
“Hopefully, we will be able to get through the budget without having to reduce priority or essential services throughout the city,” De Pompa said. “If that holds true, then we are hopeful that our cuts will be limited. We won’t lose too many, if any, additional sworn. That will be remained to be seen.”
After losing 17 positions, De Pompa said he and his command staff had to restructure the department to handle essential services.
“That was devastating to us because comparatively, when you look at our staffing compared to Burbank and Pasadena, it’s significantly less,” he said.
According to a 2008 police report, Glendale had a 1.3 officer ratio per 1,000 residents, while Burbank had 1.5 and Pasadena had 1.8.
Glendale Police Advisory Committee member Rick Barnes said the Glendale police force has been noticeably thinner at recent roll call meetings.
“I was actually shocked that we would have the reduction of officers,” he said.
During the last round of cuts, police maintained essential crime-fighting functions — including emergency response and criminal investigations — but had to cut most discretionary community-based services, De Pompa said.
How far the city is able to maintain control over local redevelopment revenues will play a major role in how the city addresses the budget gap, De Pompa said.
“There are still a lot of variables that need to be resolved between now and when the city formally adopts its budget,” he said.