The Council Talks: More Police for Redding?

What’s happening:
At the request of Redding City Council member Julie Winter, the Council will consider tonight whether to add an additional neighborhood police unit (NPU) consisting of four officers,  to the Redding Police force.

The Redding Police Department already has one NPU which they describe as  “free from general calls for service” allowing them to work hard “to conduct proactive enforcement to help keep our community safe.”

Rationalization for More Police:
A staff report, included in the Council’s agenda packet for tonight, primarily outlines financial considerations for the Council in considering whether to add police officers.

Addressing whether additional police officers for the City of Redding are needed the staff report says: (p. 287)

The community would benefit from establishing a second NPU. Having a second proactive policing unit would enhance the Police Department’s efforts to address quality of life crimes including crime syndicates, illegal camping, gang activity, property crimes, and drug related crime enforcement.

What’s missing from the Staff Report?
Any data assessing the impact of current NPU officers on “quality of life” crimes.

Any data linking a possible reduction in “quality of life” crimes with an increase in public safety downtown.

Any data indicating the need for additional NPU officers to further reduce “quality of life” crimes in order to provide a safe downtown.

A Chamber of Commerce blog post from February 11th (just a few days ago), quotes the Redding Police Department’s Officer Berg on safety downtown:

“I don’t think it’s unsafe downtown at all. Be comfortable, but don’t be naive. Be aware of your surroundings like you would anywhere else. Stay in well-lit areas. If you see someone acting strangely, don’t engage. Use common sense and you are very unlikely to ever have a problem.”

You can read more of the blog post here.

What do the Chief of Police, Bill Schueller and City Manager, Barry Tippin have to say about the lack of data?
Redding Police Chief Bill Schueller and City Manager Barry Tippin have not yet responded to emails earlier today requesting comment on the lack of data included in the staff report for the City Council on the issue adding four NPU officers.

What’s Next:
The Redding City Council will meet at 6 pm tonight, February 16th to discuss this issue among others.  A live video stream will be available via the Council’s website.  

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