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Report: Pismo Police faced hiring challenges in 2015

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Police Chief Jake Miller presented the report to members of the city council August 2. The annual report highlighted the department work, goals, and select crime statistics from 2015. Overall, Miller expressed confidence in the job his department was doing, and its interactions with the community.

The agency’s 2015 annual report stated that the department continues to work to recruit and staff its ranks. According to the report, retirements opened up several positions in department in 2014. Miller addressed the issues in 2015 by promoting from within the department and new hires, selecting two new commanders, four new sergeants, five new corporals and 11 police officers as well as 3 dispatchers. 

“It was a good year for us,” Miller told the council. “We got some good people who believe in our philosophy working with us.

Miller also told the council that recruiting and retention was the department’s biggest challenge in 2015. He said that lateral hiring, which pull officers already trained and licensed from other departments, has become more difficult, as many of those officers are choosing to stay where they are.

“Everybody was hiring, but that has all slowed down,” Miller said.

The report noted that hiring officer has become more challenging across the county for a number of reasons, including the economy and the public perception of law enforcement.

Miller added that the department reached out the civilian population to apply for jobs and be sponsored by the police department to attend academy training. He said the department had 10 recruitments in 2015.

Pismo is not the only South County City to try and meet the challenge of recruiting and retaining new officers. In 2015 the Grover Beach Police Department created a new trainee position with the hopes of attracting qualified candidates.

In Pismo Beach, the retirements, promotions, and hiring presented another challenge to the department. According to the report, the staffing changes meant that less than 6 percent of the department’s employees had more than two years of experience in their assignments. The report noted that Miller did work to address the issue.

“Chief Miller worked hard to make sure the gap in expertise did not cause a negative impact during the transition,” the report stated. “It is an exciting time for the department where a strengthening culture and family bond is being developed.”

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