San Diego

Chula Vista Facing Police Staffing Shortage

Measure A, which could raise $17 million to be split between the city's police and fire departments, will go before voters in June.

Chula Vista’s police department is facing a public-safety crisis.

Voters will decide in June whether they're for or against Measure A, which calls for a half-cent sales tax that would raise $17 million that would be split with the city’s fire department to hire more first responders.

Right now the police department ranks among the lowest-staffed in California with only eight school resource officers to cover the city’s 45 elementary schools and assist with high schools in the Sweetwater Union High School District.

Response times to emergencies are the worst they’ve been in four years.

“What you want (is for) an officer to show up at your residence and help you with the situation and when you can’t do that in a timely manner that’s what’s building a frustration for the officers and for the community members and our dispatchers,” Kennedy said.

The department also needs someone to work full-time on threats coming from social media, she said.

“We need someone to be able to look and research and analyze what potential threats are coming through or information that’s out there with social media and we don’t have the ability to have that person that can dedicate full time to that,” Kennedy said.

And then there’s pot. Kennedy is concerned about the crime associated with its abuse.

If voters approve a marijuana tax in November, Chula Vista will be among the most lenient in the county where the city will be allowed to grow, distribute, sell and test the substance.

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