CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story wrongly attributed the Vallejo Police Officer’s Association’s press release to the police department. This has been updated. (May, 27, 2022)
VALLEJO, Calif. (KRON) — Vallejo Police Department’s nighttime 911 center might be closing down due to a shortage of staff, the Vallejo Police Officers Association said.
VPOA announced in a press release Wednesday, that department was fully staffed in early 2020, but has faced a significant loss in employment in recent times. VPOA said staff often leaves to work at other agencies in the region.
“On average, Vallejo’s dispatchers handle 400-500 calls per day and now routinely work with only two people in the dispatch center, not allowing for breaks or even basic trips to the bathroom,” VPOA stated in the press release. “Whereas five dispatchers per shift provide the most effective amount of resources for safe and efficient operation.”
The Vallejo Police Department refuted VPOA’s claim on Friday, saying that it would not close its nighttime dispatch operations.
“The VPOA’s news release was filled with mistruths. It suggested that VPD would close nighttime emergency dispatch operations. That statement could not be further from the truth. No staffing decisions have been made by either Chief Williams or the City Manager,” VPD said.
VPOA said it expects more employees to leave, which will require dispatchers to work mandatory 12-16 hour workdays or potentially outsource dispatch services for Vallejo.
“This critical staffing crisis, that significantly affects both the Vallejo Police and Fire Departments, has brought the department to be within one staffed dispatcher of not being able to provide 24-hour 911 emergency services to the community,” VPOA explained.
VPOA said the department may be considering a plan that would stop 911 calls, police and fire dispatchers during nighttime hours, for the sake of keeping employees. No final decision has been made on the issue.
“Outsourcing these services will cause a disruption in emergency response from police, fire, and medical,” VPOA said.
VPOA also believes making department employees work 16-hour days is “unsustainable”. They say residents need to know how this issue will affect their safety.
“Please let your elected officials know that your tax dollars should not be used to outsource dispatchers to an entity outside of Vallejo that may not be invested or intimately familiar with your Community,” VPOA’s press release concluded.