Source: City of Magnolia
The Magnolia Police Department received an 18.16 percent increase to its budget for 2012-13 which allows for two additional patrol officers as well as one part-time position.
In the 2010-11 budget the department lost seven officers due to budget cuts, and is looking to build up its staff again for better street coverage. This year its budget rose to $924,062 from $756,207.
“It will help us build up to the staff we had before,” said Domingo Ibarra, police chief. “Right now when an officer has to train, someone has to cover their shift. We've been able to make it work, but this will be a big help.”
At peak patrol hours when traffic is heaviest, Ibarra said, he can place two officers on the street, and sometimes just one.
Sgt. Jose Lopez said every shift could use an addition officer, but for now an extra two will go a long way.
The part-time position would combine the duties of a warrant officer and evidence technician, Ibarra said, and currently those duties are being balanced by various officers.
Right now the police department keeps 20 staff members, including five patrol officers and nine reserve officers. While staffing has increased significantly in the past five years, compared to 2007 when the department saw 12 staff members, it is still down two patrol officers.
To fill the new positions, Ibarra said the reserve program, which trains and utilizes unpaid officers, helps quicken the selection process, but he does not know when officers will be hired. Ultimately, it depends if the city continues to move forward with expanding its city limits.
Training a hired officer requires a 16-week process, Lopez said, and hiring a current reserve officer means taking officers who have fully or partially completed the lengthy preparatory process.
At its Sept. 11 City Council meeting, Magnolia officials approved several tracts of land into its extraterritorial jurisdiction and readies itself for future annexation. While city police officers do not answer calls in or patrol ETJ areas, Lopez said the increased manpower will prepare the department for expansion.
“It's a good indication of what's going to happen in Magnolia, but it will mean extra calls for service that we will have to respond to, and we want to be ready,” Lopez said.
Overall, the city's projected revenue increased 4.29 percent from $2.15 million in 2011 to $2.24 million. Total expenditures increased 10.9 percent from $1.98 million in 2011 to $2.22 million this year.