John Hoover was sworn in as the new city of California police chief Aug. 6. At the California Board of Aldermen meeting later that evening, he spoke of his review and updating of police procedures for the city.
Other items that were high on his agenda was to recruit two officers to bring the police department to full capacity of eight people, and seek to replace the outdated ballistic vests (body armor) in use by the local department. The useful life of the vests is about five years, although with proper care and storage they may last a few years longer. California's are older than that.
The cost of new vests is lower, Hoover said. Good ones may cost more than $1,000. There is a grant available for assistance in purchasing new ballistic vests, but the cut-off is near. The board decided to discuss at the Aug. 20 special meeting to determine if the grant may be applied for.
It is also planned to discuss the possibility of a school resource officer at the special meeting. The school subcommittee and the Board of Aldermen subcommittee have had one meeting.
Superintendent Dwight Sanders, California R-1 School, and two of the three school subcommittee members were present at the city aldermen meeting to answer any questions that might have come up regarding the development of a partnership between city and school.
The Memorandum of Understanding draft submitted in July by the school to the city for consideration has been reviewed. The full council will continue to look at the MOU, and in certain areas of concern, offer changes in areas marked for additional input. City Attorney Ann Perry is looking over some of the areas, which may be questionable. Hoover also will be looking over the SRO MOU.
"The city will continue to work with the school on security," Mayor Norris Gerhart said. He spoke of the walk-throughs, the drive-bys, and other means in which the school and city, including the police department, have cooperated over the last few years.
Gerhart spoke to the school sub-committee and superintendent briefly after the meeting about discussing the SRO proposal at the Aug. 20 special meeting.
The full Board of Aldermen will take up the SRO MOU with school representatives, following the tax levy hearing special session at 6:45 p.m. Aug. 20.
The legal contract between the city and school will be discussed in closed session. The details of an SRO officer position and expectations will be discussed in open session.