Walnut Creek, CA

Walnut Creek to increase police funding over the next two years

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By Huey Bergstrom

(WALNUT CREEK, Calif.) Walnut Creek will increase funding for its police department over the next two years according to the city's finance committee report.

This comes as the city expects department revenues to grow "by about $3 million in the fiscal year 2022 and $3.2 million in the fiscal year 2023." The report notes "significant" adjustments to revenues from a variety of departments including law enforcement.

"The Police Department has rightsized its revenue budget based upon existing contracts with Apple and John Muir for reimbursable overtime. This revenue is fully offset by overtime expenditures," read the report.

The exsisting contract with Apple being referenced in this passage is an agreement between the city and Apple's security provider Security Industry Specialists, Inc. (SIS) to provide additional security at their store in Walnut Creek. According to a third amendment that was released April 20, the "law enforcement services are performed on a voluntary, overtime basis and are fully reimbursed by Apple."

Last summer, officers worked a series of Black Lives Matter protests that left two civilians injured after officers fired tear gas at protestors trying to get on Interstate 680. It's unclear if those were the "overtime expenditures" being referenced in the report.

According to the budget report, the department's propsed expenditures are expected to increase from $27,242,319 this year to $29,215,088 in 2022, with an additional increase to $30,622,234 the following year. The final committee memo notes that $100,000 in each fiscal year will be spent "for crisis intervention, deescalation, and response," for the police department.

On June 2, 2019 Walnut Creek police shot and killed 23-year-old Miles Hall. His family eventually settled with the city of Walnut Creek for $4 million. The budget overview indicates that one of the additional expenditures "incorporated in the proposed operating budget" includes "one-time costs related to insurance and ongoing litigation."

The city's police is routinely the largest general fund expenditure, dwarfing the other closest department (Arts & Recreation) by millions.

As noted in the report, the increase to the police budget is offset by the increase revenue from the contracts with Apple and John Muir Health. However, it is not clear whether that is also the reason for the proposed increased to police budget over the upcoming two years.

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