IMPERIAL COUNTY — Due to a shortage of funds the Calexico Police Department faces an uncertain future. Victor Ibarra, Calexico police officer and member of the Police Officer’s Association, addressed the Board of Supervisors, November 22, hoping to involve the County in the Calexico City Council decision-making to seek alternatives and the possible outsourcing to the County the city’s public safety and law enforcement services.
Back on November 16, Calexico City Manager Armando Villa presented Calexico council members with alternatives and possible solutions to close the city’s $3.9 million deficit by outsourcing public safety and law enforcement services during a special meeting in which council voted 3-1 in favor, Maritza Hurtado was absent and Joong Kim abstained.
“I’m here to talk to you about our situation and the possibility of Calexico outsourcing the public safety to the county sheriff’s department,” said Ibarra. “The Department of Justice filed a complaint including 160 recommendations and we have brought that down to 36, that itself says a lot,” stated Villa.
In May, the U.S. Department of Justice released a 133-page report where 94 findings and 169 recommendations highlighting the most critical opportunities for Calexico and its police department to guide the department toward true community-oriented policing.
“(Police) Chief Reggie Gomez has turned the department and has done an excellent job. In my opinion, record-breaking in a short period of time,” said Ibarra. ”He has created strong relationships with the community and have earned their trust.”
Ibarra went on to say the department is neither perfect, nor flawless, but believed the department has restored credibility. He asked the board to consider stepping into the crises on behalf of the department.
“We have proposals, and what was shocking last week was not only the fact that Armando Villa did not properly post the agenda item but two council members were not aware of our proposal to the city,” said Ibarra.
The Calexico Police Department was asked by Villa to cut $560,000 to which the department complied and exceeded the amount by $13,000 with a total savings of $573,000.
“I don’t understand why (city manager) Armando Villa would not tell them about our negotiations,” said Ibarra. “We want to work with our council. We may not be the best out there but we are working on it and are improving.”
“All I ask is that you allow us to work with the City (Calexico)” said Ibarra.
The board of supervisors refrained from making any comments other than wishing Ibarra well.