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Santa Barbara police staffing dips as recruitment efforts ramp up

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Down about 20 percent in staffing, the Santa Barbara Police Department is getting the word out – even more than before – that many positions are open.

The patrol staff is down about 24 officers. The department is funded for 142 sworn positions and has 118 on the schedule. The functional strength is 110 and some officers are out with injuries or medical issues.

There is also a shortage of dispatchers. Seven employee spots need to be filled.

When the dispatcher shift is not covered by a regular employee, a sworn officer is called in to fill the seat. That is adding to the schedule challenges to cover all the other officer duties on the streets.

Police chief Barney Melekian reported the status of the force to the Santa Barbara City Council this week.

Melekian said during recruitment even when there is a need, they do not cut corners, and only hire the most qualified candidates.

The department is also bringing back its cadet program for aspiring officers to join at a young age before they go to the police academy.

Melekian said along with patrol officer slots, there are many other professional police positions that members of the public can review and qualify for including police technicians.

For more information, visit the Santa Barbara Police Department website.

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John Palminteri

John Palminteri is senior reporter for KEYT News Channel 3. To learn more about John, click here.

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