Will respond to criminal, non-criminal complaints
Peace officers for the City of Lancaster Police Department will earn between $105,811 and $135,045 annually under a resolution adopted at the Nov. 14 City Council meeting to establish a classification and compensation schedule for peace officers as the Lancaster Public Safety Department continues its transition to the Lancaster Police Department.
The classification schedule has six steps for peace officers, starting with $8,817 a month and ending with $11,253 a month.
The salary cost of the compensation and classification change increase is projected at $73,688 for the addition of six peace officers originally projected at the senior specialist classification through June 30, 2024, according to a staff report by City Manager Jason Caudle, Assistant Manager Lauren Lopez and Senior Analyst Joe Urban.
Benefit costs are unknown at this time and will be included in the annual budget.
“With the current crime trends, the city recognizes the need to be proactive and create a system to mitigate potential serious issues,” the report said. “Transitioning our Public Safety Department to a Lancaster Police Department gives our city the ability to address the ‘root causes’ behind some of these long-term issues. This is being accomplished by first our hiring of the chief of police followed by recruitment of peace officers to enhance service to our community and supplement our existing sheriff’s department law enforcement resources.”
The city’s peace officers will respond to community criminal and non-criminal complaints, conduct initial investigation/inquiry, recover evidence and document findings, according to a summary.
“The peace officer will play a critical role in maintaining public safety through enforcing laws and partnering with other civil service entities and community-based organizations to solve problems,” the summary said. “This position demands exceptional judgment, strong communication skills, and a proven track record of effective community engagement and act as a liaison between city, sheriff’s department and community.”
Joaquin Gil, an Antelope Valley College political science student, asked the City Council what issues the new city police department is expected to solve.
“The biggest issue is that we want to make it safe and secure,” Mayor R. Rex Parris said. “The whole idea is to speed up response time and to drive criminals out.”
Parris added the city is looking at different ways to do that, most of which are through technology. He praised the automatic license plate recognition cameras made by Flock Safety deployed throughout the city.
“We are solving crimes at an unbelievable rate simply because we know what the license plates were in the area,” he said.
Parris acknowledged the privacy issues are a concern, however.
“I don’t want you to know where I’ve been, not that I’ve been some place I shouldn’t,” he said. “It’s just I just grew up thinking that’s not a good idea.”
The city is working on how long the data needs to be stored.