(KRON) – Six Antioch and four Pittsburg police officers facing public corruption charges are scheduled to be arraigned in Contra Costa County Superior Court in Martinez this Wednesday, September 13.
The district attorney’s office says officers will be asked to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. Preliminary hearings will follow.
Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe spoke about his plan to increase the low staffing levels of the Antioch Police Department.
“We need to fire the police officers who violated the public’s trust so that we can free up those positions and continue to hire,” said Mayor Thorpe.
For more than a year and a half the police department has struggled with low staffing while the patrol officers charged with crimes were placed on administrative leave. The city council is exploring ways to alleviate the problem.
Councilmember Mike Barbanica has suggested hiring retired cops to non-sworn police positions, which he will propose at Tuesday night’s council meeting.
“We look forward to hearing what (Mike Barbanica) has to say and if it’s the council’s desire to move in that direction, then we’ll give direction to do so,” said Mayor Thorpe.
Mayor Thorpe has also touted the successful completion of his first apprenticeship program. Eight people recently graduated after being paid to train and work for the city’s Department of Public Works. It’s a program he says could eventually be expanded to other agencies, including the police department, to fill vacant positions.
“I think it’s a great idea to explore as many possibilities that exist out there,” said Mayor Thorpe.
Mayor Thorpe says the council is expected to adopt an ordinance approved last meeting transferring the authority to appoint, supervise, and remove the chief of police from the city manager to the city council.
The council could also vote on a resolution extending the police officer signing bonus program approved last year.
“The bonuses have had an impact,” said Mayor Thorpe. “We’ve had early on we saw a 55-percent increase in application interest. We saw a 45-percent increase in overall application.”
Mayor Thorpe says seven people graduated from the police academy and are now preparing for field training on Monday.