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Chico Police may not be able to respond to all calls for service

By Jerry Olenyn, jolenyn@krcrtv.com
Published On: Jul 18 2013 01:22:36 PM CDT
Updated On: Jul 18 2013 01:33:11 PM CDT
(img1)Chico Police Force Shrinking

CHICO, Calif. -

Because of budget cuts, the city of Chico will lose seven cops on the street, forcing the department to have to 'prioritize'.

The number of police officers on Chico's streets  are about to drop from 56 to 49 and according to Chico Police Lt. Jennifer Gonzales, beginning in September, only emergency and urgent calls will be responded to by officers.

For example, calls that involve homeless activity, unless serious in nature, will be left to the involved parties to work out on their own.

"It'll be daily call-by-call basis," said Gonazles. "We have to prioritize on the need and urgency of the call. So if it's a violent felony, or if it's a crime in progress that will take a higher priority over a complaint call."

In other words, not every trespassing or pan-handling complaint will be tended to.  The police department says more will be asked of citizens, an engagement that they say could prove beneficial in the long run.

Bill Such, Executive Director of The Jesus Center, will soon launch the Street Pastors program, a group of citizens who will walk the streets in the late evening and early morning hours ministering and acting as an extra set of eyes for the police.

"Rather than saying 'look at the situation with the police and so forth, where everything is going to the dogs,' Let's turn it around and say, 'let us get involved and help wherever we can,'" said Such.

Thus far, about three dozen street pastors have undergone extensive training.  They will be set to hit the streets on August 2.