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Life in Chula Vista: Need for more police officers heightens as city continues to grow

Police investigating suspicious death in Chula Vista
Posted at 1:26 PM, Oct 07, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-10 19:04:53-04

CHULA VISTA, Calif (KGTV) -- As Chula Vista continues to grow, so does the need for police officers in the city.

Last June, voters approved a half cent sales tax increase, giving Chula Vista the highest sales tax in San Diego County. The money goes into the general fund, but os designated for hiring more police and firefighters.

Despite the new sales tax, some business owners say they are still having issues with the department's response times.

A bakery owner on Third Avenue tells 10News she sometimes has to call police multiple times a week to report a crime, but that sometimes police don't show up or shows up hours after the crime.

See complete coverage of Life in Chula Vista

Chula Vista Police say things are already improving. Captain Phil Collum says the department has hired nine of the 12 officers currently allowed by Measure A.

According to SANDAG, crime in Chula Vista is actually down 3 percent in 2019, including property and violent crimes.

"Sometimes the perception that crime is on the rise or perception that things feel less safe than they were, in fact all of the data suggests otherwise," said Collum.

In a recent survey, 91 percent of Chula Vistans said they are "very satisfied" with the department, despite not meeting response times for priority one and priority two calls. Collum said those response times are slowly improving.

The police department says additional positions will be filled through the Measure A sales tax, meaning 31 additional officers by 2023.

The Chula Vista Police Officers' Association sent 10News the following statement:

The Chula Vista Police Officers Association is a proud supporter of Measure A. The City has been following thru on the promise of dedicating 100% of the monies from Measure A to public safety. The hiring of more Police Officers has begun, but we have a long way to go. It is a very lengthy process to identify and then hire an Officer, and then get that Officer thru the academy and out of field training. The department has not been able to add Officers to our School Resource Unit, or add Detectives to Investigations yet. We are hopeful that sometime in the near future our citizens will feel the positive impact of Measure A, but we are not quite there yet.
David Oyos, President Chula Vista Police Officers Association