COLTON – Colton police officers are launching a campaign to prevent 16 possible layoffs of sworn personnel in the face of a $5 million cutback in city budgets next year.
City officials are citing the $5 million loss in utility-users tax funds as the reason for possible layoffs.
Various cities around the Inland Empire, which include communities in both Riverside and San Bernardino counties, are facing similar issues. Redlands, which is 10 miles east of Colton, has already laid off several sworn and non-sworn personnel and faces more cutbacks.
Colton eliminated 14 “frozen” officer positions within the past year, meaning they won’t be filled. The Colton Police Officers Association has launched a campaign called CAPS — Colton Axing Public Safety — with a website, Facebook page and telephone hotline number.
“Make no mistake,” said association president Greg Castillo, “less officers on the streets will result in the compromise of security to the citizens of Colton and the officers themselves.”
The possible layoffs would return police service levels to where they were during the 1980s, said Castillo. “Citizens simply cannot stand for this.”
City sources, meanwhile, suggest that laying off 16 officers is only one possible solution. Elected officials have not yet determined how they will account for the funding loss. A Dec. 7 city council meeting may provide more information.