Same job… yet different

Comparing and contrasting Butte County police forces

Police officers throughout Butte County do much the same work and face much the same danger, though they don’t make the same pay. Entry-level salaries for Oroville cops start at $40,510.07 annually; their counterparts who work for the city of Chico hire in at $49,150.40. Town of Paradise officers start at $39,790.44. Gridley cops start at $40,164.

Benefits packages also vary significantly, as do the workloads. In most municipalities, officers must pay at least part of their health insurance out of pocket.

The Oroville Police Department employs 38 sworn officers who police an area of 12.1 square miles, and a population of 14,443 within the city limits. A telling statistic, according to Chief Mitchel Brown, is the city constitutes less than 5 percent of the county’s population but accounts for 20 percent of the arrests.

The Chico Police Department employs 102 sworn officers who police an area of 30.52 square miles, and a fluctuating population estimated at 84,396 within the city limits. Captain Mike Maloney says his officers responded to an estimated 109,000 incidents last year, and the average number of incident calls runs between 250 and 450 per day. The highest number of incidents on record, 625, occurred on St. Patrick’s Day five years ago.

Officers at Chico State have a minimum annual starting salary of $45,948. There are 19 sworn university police officers, and they serve a student and staff population of some 17,000 on a 119-acre campus.

The Gridley Police Department employs 17 sworn officers. They police an area of 1.28 square miles within the city limits, and a population of approximately 8,000.