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Sonora Council Moves Police Department Items Forward

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Sonora, CA — A step toward building a new police station, and an effort to boost officer recruiting, were approved by the Sonora City Council on Monday evening.

The first item, passed 4-0, approved a contract with the company Vanir for $50,000 to conduct a needs assessment and management services for the construction of a new police facility. City leaders noted that the existing building is insufficient in size and lacks room for expansion. All of the PD operations are housed at 100 South Green Street in the 2,418-square-foot facility. The building was constructed to be an auto repair shop in the 1950s and later remodeled to house the PD in 1994.

Addressing the cost of hiring the consultant, Mayor Mark Plummer indicated it was a needed step on the path to eventually acquire construction grant dollars, adding, “To the ordinary person, it seems an outrage, and very hard to stomach ($50,000). But, what our staff can probably in 10 minutes come up with is probably half of the issues, and is not going to have any weight when we go to ask for $10 million, for example, to maybe build a new station.”

Councilmember Suzanne Cruz added, “Consultants, their opinion carries weight when you go to ask for money down the road. The process has to begin somewhere.  It has to begin today, and if it does take 5-10 years out, this is a first step forward.”

Separately, the council voted 4-0 to approve a $200,000 contract with the company Epic Recruiting to help attract new police department recruits. City Administrator Melissa Eads stated, “When we look at what we are currently investing in our recruiting efforts, and we are not getting the candidates that we need, we look at the money that we are investing, and over time, the burnout, employee well being, and the risk that we have, those numbers far outpace this $200,000 investment in the tools that we need to attract those qualified and capable sergeant and police officers.

Both votes gained the support of all council members in attendance (Matt Hawkins was absent).