Bakersfield OKs nearly $100K for police study

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) By a vote of 6-1, the Bakersfield City Council voted to allocate nearly $100,000 of public funds to pay for a police study. The study will be done by the International Association of Police Chiefs and calls for a comprehensive review of Bakersfield Police Department operations.

One thing Council members hopes it solves is finding a way to improve police response times. Additionally, it will evaluate core functions, programs, practices and conditions of the department. But, one Council member was not convinced the city needed to spend $100,000 on such a study.

"I think we already know that we're going to pay a consultant to tell us what we already know and tell us that we have 34 vacant positions, and that the issue is that we don't have enough resources," said Councilman Russell Johnson.

BPD currently has 355 officers, with 34 positions which have yet to be filled. The most common public complaint is that it takes police much too long to answer a call.

Councilwoman Jacquie Sullivan at first agreed with Johnson, and asked if it would not be better to postpone the study while the department fills the vacant positions. That suggestion did not sit well with city manager Alan Tandy.

"Everything that we can do internally has already been done," said Tandy. "Do we want to deal with it or just accept the status quo?"

Tandy said he is hopeful the study can help the department find and make improvements in its operations. Tandy called the cost "a drop in the bucket."

Sullivan questioned police Chief Greg Williamson why the study was not put out to bid, and why no requests for proposals from other companies. Williamson said he was not involved in making that decision.

The Council voted 6-1 to approve funding for the study. Once it begins, it will take approximately four months to complete.