San Bernardino has long been a cop’s kind of town, where drugs, gang wars and the manifold problems of a large lower-income population gave rookies more action — and valuable experience — than a cushy suburban assignment would ever offer. A city of about 215,000 people, half Hispanic, San Bernardino suffered in past decades as its biggest employers — an Air Force base, a nearby steel mill — were shuttered. At the same time, criminal gangs began moving in, forced from Los Angeles by a police crackdown and gentrifying slums.
Today, about 30 percent of the population lives below the poverty line. Hispanic, black and white nationalist gangs claim portions of poorer northern and western neighborhoods and account for about nine in 10 homicides, said Lt. Richard Lawhead, the department’s spokesman.
Hispanic gangs controlled by a prison gang, the Mexican Mafia, ship and sell heroin, methamphetamine and other drugs smuggled from Mexico about 100 miles south.
San Bernardino once deployed a much larger force against that threat. But that created a huge obligation to the state-run pension system to finance an unusually generous retirement package. Officers can retire at 50 and collect 3 percent of their highest salary for every year of service. Many stay longer, further raising pension obligations. In 2000, the city contribution to the state pension fund equaled 14 percent of police officers’ and firefighters’ pay. By 2012, it was 39 percent.
The Great Recession saddled San Bernardino with one of the nation’s highest home-foreclosure rates and gutted its property tax revenues. By the time officials declared bankruptcy in August 2012, police officers had agreed to shoulder more of their pension costs, reducing their take-home pay by nearly 15 percent. Amid talk that the county sheriff’s department might take over policing, San Bernardino officers fled to more secure jobs.
At its peak in 2008, the department employed 346 sworn officers. Today, there are about 220 — a 36 percent reduction.
The effect of those cuts has been palpable. The narcotics and vice division lost half of its 16 narcotics officers; the team that policed street sales was disbanded. Four community-policing offices, each with four officers, have shrunk to one four-person team covering the entire city.
The traffic division, reduced by more than half, no longer polices streets at night. Officers no longer respond to noninjury auto accidents. City traffic deaths hit a record high in 2015.
Fewer crimes are being solved as well. Officers cleared 14.6 percent of robberies last year, compared with 22 percent in 2012, and 20 percent of aggravated assaults, compared with more than 51 percent in 2012. Cleared vehicle thefts dropped 40 percent.
The average time to respond to a call for help has risen drastically since 2010, by 75 percent for the most serious emergencies and 190 percent over all. “We had a guy who came in here with a bag, loaded it with what he wanted and walked out the back door,” said Linda Sutherland, who owns the downtown Fun Corner costume shop with her husband, Steve. “We called the police, and they said: ‘We can’t arrest him. We don’t have the resources.’ ”
Nick Gonzalez, who heads the Arrowhead Neighborhood Association in northern San Bernardino, said officers were hardly to blame. “You have the bad guys moving in and the cops trying to keep them in line, but it’s an impossible task,” he said. “They can’t compete.”
Detective Wicks, at 39 a 12-year veteran, called such judgments too harsh, but he said the sheer volume of calls forced officers to focus on serious crimes at the expense of petty ones.
On summer nights, he said, his onboard computer screen may list 50 and even 75 calls awaiting response by the 30 or so officers on patrol. Although a recent evening patrol was unusually slow, he was working an extra three and a half hours to fill a gap in coverage.
Yet an upswing may be at hand. Chief Burguan, who was promoted in 2013, said he hoped a restructuring would place more officers on the street and improve coordination among divisions. The police officers’ union, which might have been expected to oppose parts of the proposal, instead has embraced it.
Already, the chief has hired civilians at lower cost to replace sworn officers who held desk jobs. His plan envisions rebuilding the force to 320 officers and upgrading ancient office and cruiser computers and the cruiser fleet, half of which is more than 10 years old.
The plan awaits a bankruptcy judge’s approval. A major creditor has suggested it might oppose the plan. But hints of a revival are already appearing. The turnover of police officers, which peaked in 2014, dropped more than a third last year. A recent job fair drew a throng of potential applicants. And the department’s performance during the attack in December has lifted morale and, officials hope, its reputation.
“We’ve kind of stabilized,” said Eric McBride, the deputy chief. “We were thrust into the limelight a bit, and people said: ‘Hey, those San Bernardino guys were kicked around. But they performed.’ ”Continue reading the main story
Education Budget Cuts Essay
1012 Words5 Pages
Education is the most important possession a person must have. It is the keys to success, wealth, and knowledge. It is the only possession that cannot be taken away from a person and it will open up the windows of opportunities. Education will help us grow as an individual, have better understanding of life, and give us a financial stability; but what happens when education get cuts down. By making budget cuts to education, is this helping out education or letting it down. In the news article, “Highlights Impact of Budget Cuts to Education” by State School Chief Jack O’Connell, his claim is that governor should not cuts down education budget, but instead protect education and invest it in the future.
He stated that budget cut to…show more content…
He stated that the Los Angeles Unified School District had canceled their summer school programs. A number of 2,250 teachers were expected to be laying off. He also stated that the Mount Diablo Unified School District board recently vote to lay off more than 400 teachers and are likely to eliminate their sports and most music programs.
As stated above, State Schools Chief Jack O’Connell believes that student’s education should be protected and invested in the future. Our government had a critical mission which is preparing students for productive futures. What he means by this is that we should have an educated, highly skilled workforce that can compete in the global economy for our state’s long term success, but since our resources are excessively depleted, we cannot succeed in achieving this necessary. He felt that the governor and legislature was not fair or responsible approach to closing this budget gap, especially the vital state services such as education. He argued that we can talk about courage, but it is just a word and it will not be useful until it is supporting by the right kind of action. By the way, the right kind of