Citizen’s Advisory Committee Presents Survey for Police Funding

Clovis Police Department. (CR File Photo)

At the latest Citizen’s Advisory Committee meeting for the City of Clovis, the committee completed an anonymous five question survey on the advantages and disadvantages of funding the Clovis Police Department.

In a question that asked if the committee believed if there was adequate funding and staffing for Clovis PD, the committee had nineteen “No” answers and three “Yes” answers. The next question asked how many sworn police officers should be employed by the department in order to maintain the “safest city in the valley” status over the next five years.

The committee had seven members vote for 50 sworn officers, the amount of officers that Police Chief Fleming had originally mentioned was a best case scenario. The other fifteen votes came for “Other” in which fourteen different responses were written in. These responses included suggestions such as “1 per every 1,200 residents”, “30-40 [more officers]”, “7 additional officers over the next five years” with one response even stating “55 (50 plus a safety of 10%)”.

When asked how the city should pay for the proposed additional officers, fourteen survey takers voted for a tax increase ballot measure that would be included in the City of Clovis’ next ballot. Three voters selected “as the city is able to with existing funds” and four selected “cuts in other general funds”, meaning other city services such as fire or parks and recreation services.

As a final question on the survey, the committee was asked “What kind of City do you want to live in?” A ranked list followed in which “Public Safety” came first in importance, followed by “Economy” and “Community Design”. “Inclusivity and Engagement” and “Natural Environment” ranked ninth and tenth, each in last place of importance for the committee.

Based on survey results, the committee then went on to have a lengthy discussion about what they believed the next steps were. Comments came in mostly about how to pay for the additional officers to which committee members responded by proposing a 1¢ to a 1.5¢ sales tax on all of Clovis. This comment came with the recognition that a proposed sales tax to the city would be bad timing with inflation and the rise in gas prices.

And this is where the committee stands, as according to John Holt and his comments made at the last committee meeting, the city cannot afford to cut any services. It was also added that anytime the City of any local government cut services, complaints come in on the basis that city residents don’t receive the same services that they are used to.

However, one committee member again begrudged on the issue of asking current officers to do too much, illustrating that “their heads would explode” if the city asked them to do more work than what they are doing now.

This was reiterated by some committee members who went on ride alongs with police, pointing out that they had seen things they weren’t prepared for and believing that they were in a lot more dangerous of a place than they originally thought.

The next steps for the committee are to recap their highlights and the thoughts they have collectively had and provide comments to the City Council. A consensus remains however that a proposed sales tax will not go over well with the public and will not pass. Nevertheless, this is what the committee seems to be leaning towards when they make their report to the council.

It was recommended by City Assistant Manager Andy Haussler that the committee gather their comments, results of the survey, and overall thoughts and try to get those in the hands of the City Council before the committee’s next meeting on April 6th.

This advisement was made with the perception that the council could “get a good sense of direction” for what they will need to look at and consider with steps moving forward.

JT is a recent college grad with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication. He is mainly interested in sports and entertainment but covers a wide array of subjects. He currently writes for the Fresno State Baseball Dugout Club. JT looks forward to continuing his career at the Clovis Roundup and is excited to be working closely with a community that is very proud of its people.