Help on the way for understaffed Cal City Police with COPS Hiring Grant

A COPS Hiring Grant is on its way to help the understaffed Cal City Police Department

CALIFORNIA CITY – Cal City Police will add extra officers to its force. A grant could be on the way to assist you.

“We haven’t been able to hire anyone in a year. The last time I hired a patrolman was last December. To me, that’s not acceptable,” said Jesse Hightower, Cal City’s chief of police.

Hightower’s next two hires, on the other hand, are expected very shortly.

This is because Cal City was recently awarded a $250,000 COPS Hiring Grant.

The federal subsidy will cover 75% of the salaries of the two new officers for three years.

The funding was just authorized by the City Council.

“There’s still a lot of facets we have to do to accept and receive the grant, so we’re currently in the works with that. So essentially that will allow me to hire two guys under this federal grant, meaning the city would only have to pay 25 percent of each person’s salary. In my opinion, it’s a win,” Hightower said.

Hightower is staffed by 11 sworn cops.

In an ideal world, he argues, that number would be 17.

His workforce has shrunk over the last decade, turning his scheduling efforts into a juggling act.

Overtime pay is not frequently an option.

Lt. Shannon Hayes was important in the grant application process.

“It’s definitely been more challenging. It’s created some long hours, long days for some of the guys on patrol. A lot of them have come in and worked on their days off, have done some creative trades with guys just so guys can have days off and spend time with their families,” Hayes explained.

Hightower is optimistic that the hires will be made soon.

“There’s no relief. For me I have a sense of urgency. I want to be able to get this done. Get guys on the street. I want to promote the city. I want to promote the organization. We have a great group of core guys right now that we’re able to utilize. Morale is up. I’m urgent to get these guys on the street,” Hightower said.

Cal City, along with Wasco, was one of two Kern County cities to receive the COPS Hiring Grant.

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