(The following is from a briefing Watsonville police Chief Manny Solano recently gave to the members of the )
We have seen success and unprecedented challenges over the last year: 2010 resulted in a 15 percent reduction in overall crime, the lowest in 30 years. Our Police Activities League was recognized by our local Chamber of Commerce, and our Police Cadets were acknowledged by the American Red Cross. Every day, you bravely work to make our city safe, despite the ever-present threat of gangs and violence. we cannot let up or rest on our laurels, and we won’t.
Last year, you handled 61,600 calls for service, wrote 7,200 reports, made 3,000 arrests and issued 16,700 vehicle code citations. Along with the community, I commend you for your consistent display of hard work and dedication in the face of adversity.
History often repeats itself, especially when it comes to the fiscal instability and insolvency of our local and state government. As an example, take a look at this news story from 1988 and see if anything sounds familiar.
The cause of our current dilemma is very complex, but as the video illustrates, we have experienced severe cuts before. This time, the magnitude is far worse. Staffing levels, tools to do our job and crucial training are all at stake. Our biggest challenge will be how to deliver the same level of police service, for less cost, with continued violence and the early release of convicted criminals.
But preparing for emergencies and crisis is what we do. A plane in the midst of a storm is a good analogy. Surrounded by dark clouds and turbulence, an ill-prepared pilot can easily become disoriented. Some have even flown upside down or fell off course because they failed to plan and prepare for a critical situation.
In our case, we have already begun planning for the worst-case scenario. With our core mission as our guide, we will seek creative solutions to sustain our success and pursue the level of service our community has grown to expect. But with deeper cuts looming, our job won’t be easy. In some cases we may have to forgo less essential services and concentrate on priorities.
Our motto, “Soaring to New Heights,” is very appropriate, considering our current state of affairs. The good news is, our determination and resiliency matches that of our community, recognized for its hard-working people and collaborative spirit. We are known for rolling up our sleeves and getting the job done, no matter the setback.
If we work together, we will find our break in the clouds and come out of this predicament for the sake of our community. Let’s be safe out there.