End Game Scenario

The Atherton Police Department has 3 open, authorized, unfilled positions: Two Sergeants, One Officer.

Despite an ongoing, extensive recruitment effort, the Department has yet to fill these positions.

In addition, three personnel are on extended leave due to illness and injury.

There are a total of 6 open shifts on the roster. In an agency with only 23 full time employees, this means the agency is only at 75% of its normal strength. Mandated training, vacations, and other inter-agency obligations place further pressure on the increasingly scarce resources.

This comes at a time of increasing property crime in the San Francisco Bay Area, including areas near and adjacent to Atherton.

Two of the open positions are designated for Investigations, including a Sergeant and Detective. The agency has no dedicated investigative capacity. It is calling upon Officers with limited training and experience to write search warrants, interrogate, and conduct follow-up activities outside of the jurisdiction. This practice compromises the effectiveness of your agency. It means fewer Officers are on the streets for routine patrol and traffic enforcement.

The challenge the Police Department faces is one of recruitment. Atherton competes with other agencies for its Officers. Those agencies are also recruiting heavily. The San Mateo County Sheriff's Office is currently recruiting for lateral Deputy Sheriffs. As of the most recent salary survey, they make $420 / month less in total compensation (salary and benefits) than Atherton Officers. This disparity  has prevented Atherton Officers from leaving to an agency with greater promotional promises.

The Council imposed a contract on their unrepresented employees. They have announced their intention to shift the burden of pension and medical expenses on to the Police Officers. If they do so without an eye toward the total compensation metric, they could cause defections to the Sheriff or other agencies.

And, with an agency already unable to fully staff its shifts with two Officers and a Sergeant, one can only conclude what the future holds for this agency if the Council makes significant cuts. The agency will not be able to operate. The Council will have no choice but to outsource its Police Department.