SEASIDE — The Seaside Police Department’s biggest challenge in the year ahead is meeting personnel needs, Chief Dave Ham said Monday in his annual report to city councilors.
“We’re in the middle of the hiring process with the death of Jason Goodding and the retirement of (Lt.) Steve Barnett,” Ham said. The department is ready to hire four new officers and plans promotions within its ranks.
Ham said he aimed to get new personnel “up and running.”
“We’re going to have a pretty good mix between some very lengthy tenured officers and some new ones,” he said. “One of the challenges you have with new personnel is molding and training them and mentoring them to the point where they’re ready to get out on the streets to perform to the best of their abilities and expectations. That’s going to be a big challenge for us this year.”
Public safety remains the city’s No. 1 departmental expense.
Of the $4.4 million proposed in the 2016-17 budget for public safety, the police department accounts for about $3.4 million, most of that in personnel services.
Seaside’s population of 6,495 is served by 19 police officers, supplemented by eight dispatchers and one community service officer, Ham said.
Calls for service have increased 32 percent over the past five years, Ham said.
The rise does not necessarily indicate an increase in crime, but could be a result of increased contacts by police staff generating a higher number of log entries, he added.
Seaside police made 54 driving under the influence of intoxicants arrests in 2015, down from 112 in 2014. Ham attributed the lower number to the loss of two officers who were “very active” in drug and alcohol recognition and enforcement.
There were 11 assaults reported in 2015; four assaults were reported in 2014.
Fourteen motor vehicles were reported stolen in Seaside in 2015, Ham said, slightly more than the 11 reported car thefts in the previous year.
Some of those reports may include cars borrowed or lent to friends or acquaintances, Ham said.
Sgt. Goodding’s death in February was still very much a part of Ham’s presentation.
Ham and others attended the Oregon Fallen Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Ceremony earlier this month.
Goodding was shot to death in February after attempting to arrest Phillip Max Ferry on a warrant.
Seaside’s Bob Perkel asked councilors to consider renaming Broadway Field in honor of Goodding.