On Wednesday, the Public Safety Committee discussed and reviewed the Pasadena Police Department’s proposed $105.4 million budget for Fiscal Year 2024.
The Department’s budget would increase by 7.6 % from $97.95 million in FY 2023. This amounts to approximately 12.2% of the City’s entire departmental allocations.
Of the total budget, $88.36 million is for personnel costs. Just under $1 million goes to capital outlays.
“The recommended budget includes purchasing four additional enforcement patrol vehicles, three additional motorcycles and two new spotlights for helicopters,” said Pasadena Police Department Chief Eugene Harris at the meeting.
Harris said the budget also adds three positions to the department.
“With the passing of AB (Assembly Bill) 1421, there has been an increase in public records requests and the Pasadena Police Department’s recommended budget [proposes an] addition of three positions creating the Digital Evidence Team, which is specifically designated to deal with this legislative requirement.”
“These personnel will process, respond and gather documents for public records requests and discovery requests.”
According to Harris, personnel costs increased for FY 2024 due to “negotiated salary increases.”
Conferences and meetings expenses were increased by $94,000.
Helicopter and other insurance costs also increased by 42 % across the city.
For this FY 2024, Harris said it is a Department priority to hire two park specialists for the safety of those visiting the parks.
“The department is looking to return two park safety specialists. We had two vacancies from the original six park safety specialists.”
“Safety in the parks is a great concern and we will be actively recruiting and filling those positions.”
“By the end of June, all those park safety vacancies should be filled.”
Harris said the Department will adjust its recruitment outreach efforts to better attract “a multitude of diversified applicants.”
Currently, the Department has 119 female and 240 male employees, according to Harris. (Not all of these are sworn officers.)
The purchase of additional hardware and software tools such as automatic license plate readers, the ShotSpotter gunfire detection system, body-worn cameras, drones, and other tools to help solve crimes and to provide better service to the community is also a priority this FY 2024, according to Harris.
He said that in the coming Fiscal Year, the Department will also prioritize requiring patrol officers to ‘walk a block’ and engage with the community once per shift “to get folks to understand” what Pasadena Police Department’s role is.
Public commenters who attended the meeting urged the City to cancel Pasadena Police Department’s contract with ShotSpotter saying ShotSpotter is an ineffective tool.
One of them also urged the City Council to allocate a much larger budget for youth programs instead of the Pasadena Police Department.
Mayor Victor Gordo instructed the Police Department representatives to come back with a report on the Department’s coordination with the other City departments, including the Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department.
“One of the issues that I have raised for a number of years now is the issue of park safety specialists and increasing the ranks of Park Safety Specialists so that they can serve in the parks, so that they can engage with the community and community members in the parks,” Gordo said.
“I would like a report back on your recommendation whether we need to increase the budget for more of those individuals.”