STOCKTON - Seven young men and women were added to the Stockton Police Department at a swearing-in ceremony Monday afternoon.
The boost in sworn police officers brings Stockton closer to its funded staffing of 365 officers. The current number is 355. After the voter-approved sales tax adds 40 more officers for each of the next three years, the eventual total will be 485.
Finally Stockton is bringing in more cops than are leaving.
"We couldn't hire fast enough. We struggled for years to get past 330. We'd hire 10, but lose 10 out the back door," said Police Chief Eric Jones.
When Stockton's fiscal crisis developed, police and other city employees took financial cuts. It became common for officers to find more attractive deals from other agencies. Jones said the numbers are improving because officers see the city and department as more stable.
He also said the high crime rate is not a deterrent.
"In general, they want to be part of a municipal police department truly fighting crime. If there's a place to make a difference, it's Stockton," said Jones.
by Tim Daly, TDaly@news10.net