Senate Approves Sen. Dodd’s Vallejo Police Staffing Bill

May 22, 2024 / Comments Off on Senate Approves Sen. Dodd’s Vallejo Police Staffing Bill


SACRAMENTO – The California Senate today approved legislation from Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, that would help address chronic police staffing shortages in Vallejo by allowing qualified retired officers to work up to full-time for the Solano County Sheriff’s Office, providing the additional deputies needed to aid the City of Vallejo during this staffing emergency.

“Today’s vote allows us to continue to make use of retired police officers, who bring a wealth of training and experience that has been critical to ensuring public safety in Vallejo,” Sen. Dodd said. “Allowing them to temporarily work more hours while recruitment ramps up for permanent officers can save taxpayers the money while deterring crime and improving responsiveness.”

The Vallejo Police Department has become extremely understaffed, prompting the city council to declare a local emergency. The department is authorized to have 132 officers but is down to 31 officers patrolling a city of 123,000 people. On average, it takes up to two years to recruit and train new officers. One cost-effective interim solution that can be deployed relatively quickly is to use retired officers. However, retired officers may not work more than 960 hours per year under existing law, leaving gaps in staffing.

That’s why Sen. Dodd introduced Senate Bill 1379, which allows retired police officers to exceed the 960-hour limit for retired annuitants, for the next three years. The waiver would also apply to dispatchers, evidence technicians and police records personnel. The bill would allow for Solano County sheriff’s deputies to respond to more emergency calls in Vallejo by giving them the necessary deputies to do so. The state has previously allowed retired employees to meet urgent staffing needs with similar exemptions.

SB 1379 is supported by the Vallejo Mayor Robert McConnell, Solano County Sheriff Tom Ferrara, Solano County Deputy Sheriffs Association, the Vallejo Chamber of Commerce and the California State Sheriff’s Association. It cleared the Senate with overwhelming support and heads next to the Assembly.

“I would like to thank Sen. Dodd for addressing the dire need for help in Vallejo,” Solano County Sheriff Tom Ferrara said. “This important change will help us ensure the appropriate staffing levels for community safety.”

“The Vallejo Chamber of Commerce is thrilled to have SB1379 approved by the Senate Committee,” said Shawna Gilroy, the chamber’s president and CEO. “We are in full support of bringing back retired officers that are willing to continue to serve. With the state of emergency in Vallejo we welcome the help to provide more protection and safety to our businesses, residents and community. The Vallejo Chamber of Commerce will continue to support our emergency services personnel in an effort to make our community the best it can be.”