In an emergency meeting yesterday, the members of the Colton Police Officers' Association (CPOA) overwhelmingly approved $1 million in financial concessions to the city "to head off potentially devastating cuts to the Police Department's number of sworn officers, as the city prepares to terminate 16 officers," the CPOA announced.
"Under plans being considered by the city council, 16 Colton police officers would lose their jobs in order to help balance the city's budget," according to Officer Greg Castillo, CPOA president. "This would negatively impact our city's public safety capabilities, which would hurt Colton in the long run. As a part of the Colton community, the CPOA decided to offer these concessions for the well-being of the city, its residents and business owners."
Members of the CPOA agreed to set up a two-tiered retirement system for new hires, forgo furlough hours the city currently owes officers, give back accrued sick and vacation time for each officer, enact early retirements, and waive the right for officers to receive monetary compensation for extra time accrued.
"It is always a difficult decision to give up money and benefits, but this decision was made to help protect Colton's police force and our city's public safety capabilities," according to Officer Rich Randolph, member of the CPOA and one of the 16 officers slated for termination. "The members of the CPOA are proud to serve Colton, and we hope the City Council ultimately decides to allow us to continue serving our community."
On Dec. 7, the Colton City Council will meet and may take up the budget issue as well as the fates of the police officers whose jobs are slated for elimination.