Livingston added three new officers this week, rounding out the police department out 20 officers, according to Chief Ruben Chavez.
T.J. Griffin, Eddie Jimenez and Joe Thornburg took the oath Tuesday, making them sworn officers and bringing the department up to full staffing, Chavez said.
“We’ve never had three hired at the same time,” Chavez said. “All three came out of the academy together.”
The officers were trained at the San Joaquin Delta College academy, he said, and they graduated at the “top of the class.”
The council approved an $18.7 million budget in October, according to records. The budget calls for a general fund of $5.7 million, an increase from last year’s $5.18 million, according to Merced Sun-Star archives. The 2016-17 fiscal year estimates a surplus of $64,000.
The city was able to pay for three new officers thanks to grants and other funding, Chavez said. The money comes from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Community Oriented Policing Services grant, funding from Livingston Union School District for a student resources officer, and Merced County funding for an officer who would deal with mental health-related cases, according to Chavez.
It’s easier to hold crime down than, when it gets out of control, to try to bring it down.
Councilman Gurpal Samra
Councilman Gurpal Samra said 20 officers is the most the city has seen since before the Great Recession, when the peak was 21 officers. He said the police force will now have the most officers on patrol that the city has ever seen.
Samra stressed the importance of having a visible police patrol.
“It’s easier to hold crime down than, when it gets out of control, to try to bring it down,” he said.
Originally from Staten Island, N.Y., Jimenez went to high school in the Sacramento area before joining the Marines. Thornburg, who is from Galt, attended Cosumnes Community College before he attended San Joaquin Delta with the other officers. Griffin has attended Diablo Valley College, and taken first-responder and volunteer firefighter training.
Thaddeus Miller: 209-385-2453,