We Need Backup

The S.B. police union and brass united to inform Santa Barbara City Council’s Finance Committee that the city needs more cops on the beat. Police union president Detective Mike McGrew (left) noted that the number of sworn officers has dropped from 151 to 126 since 9/11. In the past year, 20 officers have left, two-thirds of whom have taken jobs with other departments, he said. Another 26 will retire within two years. McGrew, Barbara Barker (middle) — of Human Resources — and Deputy Chief Rich Glaus (right) outlined a shortage of officers borne of high housing costs, long commutes, and a profound lack of interest in the law enforcement profession. While Glaus and Sansone discussed programs to increase recruitment and retention, McGrew charged that Santa Barbara officers are paid 9 percent less on average than their equals in comparable communities. The union plans to request a 10 percent raise.

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