SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn says his agency is looking to fill more than 100 vacancies with a goal to be fully staffed by the end of next year.
Sac PD’s shortage of officers was a key highlight in Tuesday night’s city Council meeting.
“The key is how do we recruit? How do we look for the certain things that will fit our community?” said Chief Hahn at Tuesday night’s meeting.
The agency has had its challenges with recruitment in the past. The department is still recovering from cuts made during the recession. Sgt. Vance Chandler says the shooting of Stephon Clark is not helping put the agency in a positive light, but it’s too soon to tell what impact Clark’s death will have on bringing on new recruits.
“Right now it’s a very difficult time for us, it’s a challenge right now, but we are going to learn from this incident, it’s gonna make our agency better, so that is something positive to tell recruits,” said Chandler.
The death of Clark follows a series of other high-profile police shootings in Sacramento, including the 2016 shooting of Joseph Mann, and has further strained the trust between the community and Police.
The agency is now looking at innovative ways to draw qualified candidates to join their force from boot camps like the one held Wednesday night at the Oak Park Community center. Dozens of recruits got a chance to get face time with officers in a positive atmosphere through a challenging workout. The boot camps help get those interested in law enforcement familiar with some of the physical demands of the job and help build relationships.
“That allows potential candidates to interact with our officers, get a good workout in because there are some physical demands of this job, and also see our officers in a different light, we’re not in our uniform, we’re not on the job,” said Chandler.
The department is also actively giving presentations on college campuses and trying to recruit at various events throughout Sacramento neighborhoods.
“I want to be that person who is in the community, “ said Akili Terry.
The 20-year-old is a recruit. He says the shooting of Stephon Clark doesn’t scare him but, in fact, makes him more motivated to join Sac PD now to be a part of the growth and community building.
“As a future officer, really just listen to the community’s needs and try to make policies and plans to make better relationships with the community and police,” he said.
Owen Saunders is also a recruit who hasn’t been deterred. He says change is good.
“I think some of the policies that they’re implementing or thinking about implementing will be good for the future,” said Saunders.
Chandler says while recruiting has been difficult, there is a bright spot.
“We had officers that left our department, and now we have officers that are returning to the department, so that’s a positive sign, and we’re proud of that.”