It’s time to lead

This is Chico Police Chief Kirk Trostle’s chance to step up and take charge of his department

Last week, the CN&R attended a press conference at which city leaders and members of the business community revealed a plan for police patrols in downtown. Standing among them was Police Chief Kirk Trostle, who said nothing after a member of the Chico Police Officers’ Association—the local cops union—made it clear that the department’s officers weren’t interested in signing up for voluntary shifts covering the city center.

According to city administrators, Trostle is now in charge of establishing those downtown patrols. But if he’s having any success, we’re not witnessing it. We haven’t seen the promised foot and bike patrols. What we have heard is more rhetoric from the union on how it’s not possible to staff the shifts associated with that plan for added law enforcement.

Yes, we realize the department is down officers, with numerous out on workers’ compensation and a handful of open positions awaiting recruits, but we’re more convinced that the CPOA is using this as a wedge issue leading into its contract negotiations with the city. We’re tired of hearing them play the martyr, when we know that the budget for public safety remained untouched during the Great Recession. If the department is truly overworked in such a burdensome way, we suggest taking the concessions that will allow for the hiring of additional personnel.

This has been a time of great financial strife for our community, and the CPOA ought to stop crying poor. It’s been well-publicized that Chico’s police officers are extremely well-paid, especially as it relates to benefits (see Second and Flume, page 9).

It’s now time for Trostle to get his department to rise for the greater good of the community. This is his opportunity, too, to rise—to take ownership of his role as police chief. It is paramount that he maintain control of his officers, who appear eager to use this added patrol as a bargaining chip rather than a chance to protect and serve the city of Chico. The clock is ticking. We’ll be watching, and so will city officials and residents. Don’t let us down.