Resurrecting a police gang and drug task force has been a priority for city officials. That priority is now likely near the top of the city council's to-do list after the recent .
City officials are working to develop its next two-year budget, and will have to make tough decisions facing a $4 million deficit, Mayor John Marchand said. The council is scheduled to adopt its fiscal year 2012-2013 budget in June.
Police Chief Steve Sweeney says he would like to add additional officers to the department to help bring back a unit that would focus on drugs and gangs in town. The department currently has 83 officers on staff — down from the 95 officers employed in 2009.
"We're looking to add more resources to the police department if we can," Sweeney said. "In the meantime we are looking at better ways to reorganize (officers to cover) gang and drug issues."
Marchand said residents have voiced public safety to be their No. 1 priority.
"We will do everything we can," Marchand said of adding additional officers. "We may well have to shift resources from one department to another in order to accomodate that."
Meanwhile, met with Marchand and police to discuss the Easter shooting. Officials provided information on Neighborhood Watch groups and other resources to help residents.
"I wanted to bring the neighborhood together so that they can work together," Marchand said.
Sweeney also reminded residents that they are the eyes and ears of the city, and encouraged neighbors to report any suspicious activity and crime to the police department.
"We need your help," Sweeney said. "It’s really working together that keeps us a safe community."
If you are interested in starting a Neighborhood Watch in your neighborhood you can contact Nicole Aguon with the at 925-371-4978.
If you would like to join the Springtown/Vasco/Scenic area Neighborhood Watch, contact at firstname.lastname@example.org.