As a newly elected council member I am honored at this opportunity to continue serving Clovis.
My family moved to Clovis when I was 5 years old. I attended Sierra Vista and Weldon Elementary Schools, Clark Intermediate and graduated from Clovis High School in 1985.
I am proud of the fact my wife and I raised our children in Clovis. Safe neighborhoods and great schools have always been the foundation of Clovis.
A cornerstone of success to the City of Clovis has been public safety. I was fortunate to work for the Clovis Police Department for nearly 29 years and be Chief of Police for six of those years.
The men and women of the Clovis Police Department are truly extraordinary in what they do every day to keep us safe.
However, the cornerstone of safety in Clovis is currently at a crossroads and is facing the most critical challenges our city has ever seen.
Current state laws have made keeping criminals in jail an overwhelming challenge. The one—size—fits–all approach simply does not work.
Our biggest challenge is this: The Clovis Police Department has the lowest police officer staffing numbers in the valley per capita. We average less than one officer per 1000 residents.
Since the great recession of 2007, the Clovis Police Department has been struggling to increase staffing numbers. At one point in 2006, the police department had 116 officers.
During the last major recession in 2007 and 2008 it was reduced to 91 officers. Currently, the Clovis Police Department is authorized for 112 officers.
A recent study completed showed the Clovis Police Department should have a minimum of 133 officers. Yet, Clovis PD remains a full-service department.
It’s this full-service department that has made and continues to make, Clovis PD special and different.
When you call your police department, they come. It is evident that this full level of service is becoming harder and harder to maintain. This cornerstone of safety is truly at a crossroads.
There are several factors as to why staffing numbers remain lower than they should. The main one is simply everything costs more than it used to.
Over the years, everyone has worked on more affordable solutions to help with a staffing shortage. This included the use of volunteers and citizens on patrol. However, with the COVID shutdown many of the volunteers have not been able to return for various reasons.
Maintaining a level of high service is due to the community’s willingness to call and work with the police as well as the commitment and dedication of every employee and volunteer working with or for the Clovis Police Department.
We acknowledge and thank them for their continuing service.
So, the question we face is what do we do? Reduce service levels that include no longer responding to certain calls or find a funding a solution to ensure the Clovis Police Department always has the adequate staffing to meet the needs of our growing community.
There will have to be tough discussions with the Clovis Community on what we want and how we get there.
The time is now for us as a community to decide how we remain the “Safest City in the Valley”.