Sacramento – Senator Andy Vidak (R-Hanford) has introduced Senate Bill 453, which would provide Orange Cove, Parlier and Woodlake police departments with $4 million each to construct, update or remodel their facilities. The $12 million is a one-time appropriation.
“Senator Vidak’s measure will enable Orange Cove to replace an outdated and unsafe police department. As mayor of Orange Cove, the safety of our residents is of the utmost importance,” said Orange Cove Mayor Victor Lopez.
Existing law establishes minimum standards for local correctional facilities, however many small and rural police departments don’t have enough money to keep up with the ever-evolving requirements. As a result, many small and rural city police departments are chronically underfunded.
“SB 453 will provide critical funding to keep up with the public safety needs of the Parlier community that have been crippled due to a rise in gang activity,” said Parlier Mayor Alma Beltran.
The City of Parlier has about 15,000 residents. The police department should have one officer per 1,000 residents. Parlier is currently only staffed at 65 percent (with 10 officers), with a need for 10 additional officers.
Parlier voters passed Measure Q in November 2016, a parcel tax which will raise $300,000 to supplement the police department’s annual $500,000 budget. The measure passed with over 66 percent of the vote. Unfortunately, this funding is still well short of what is needed.
“As the Mayor of Woodlake, a small rural community within Senator Andy Vidak's district, I am proud to have his support as we look to improve our local public safety services,” said Woodlake Mayor Rudy Mendoza. “This proposal will make a significant impact towards the protection of lives and property, the safety of our police force, and the enforcement of laws within our community."
Similar measures have included funds for rural police departments in the Central Valley, including SB 97 (Budget Committee) in 2015, and SB 1307 (Cannella) and SB 826 (Leno) in 2016.
“We need to think of the safety of these small, disadvantaged communities, the safety of the officers they employ, and the safety of those in custody,” said Vidak. “SB 453 will give these police departments the flexibility to repair and replace equipment and facilities, which is urgently needed, instead of forcing rural cities to choose between public safety and infrastructure.”