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Morale at the understaffed Santa Ana Police Department at an all time low

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SAPD Police Chief Carlos Rojas

SAPD Police Chief Carlos Rojas

There has been a drop in police officers on the streets in Santa Ana since the last city budget was adopted. Reports from the department are that there are only a handful officers on the street at any given time. If you go to the page 2-78 of the budget, and look under field operations, which are the patrol officers, they have dropped thirty police officer positions – this is the most important division in the department!

On page 2-78 of the adopted budget you can see that there are thirty less officers in patrol now. There were 231 total officers in all ranks the previous and only 198 this year. If you look on page 2-62 you can see the number of authorized officers last year and the number under the new budget.

In 1985, almost 30 years ago, there were 385 authorized police officers (all ranks Chief on down).  Today there are only 316 police officers (add the total of officers, sergeants, lieutenants, captains and the chief) accounted for in the general fund. The population was about 100,000 people less back then.  It has grown tremendously since 1985.

Morale at the SAPD is reportedly so low that police officers are leaving as fast as they can for Anaheim and other agencies.  And to make things worse there are about thirty SAPD police officers who are planning on retiring this year.

Where are the replacement officers going to come from? Nowhere.  No one wants to lateral to the SAPD anymore and they are already short staffed literally beyond belief.

Special Investigations, the department that went after the gang bangers, has been totally eliminated.  Guess who on the City Council was behind that? If you go to page 2-88 in the budget you can see it in print. No one is in that program –  thirty five people eliminated including 29 police officers.

While the residents of this city are mostly unaware as to what is going on at the SAPD, I am told that the actual police officers are complaining daily to anyone who will listen.

All of this has happened since former SAPD Police Chief Paul Walters, who as our City Manager saved our city from bankruptcy, was fired by our City Council and replaced by David Cavazos, who makes more money than President Barack Obama.  Whether or not our current Police Chief, Carlos Rojas, has a plan to get his department out of this mess is a very good question.

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26 Comments  comments 

26 Responses

  1. Anonymous

    I called the police department recently to get a vicious pit bull picked up, and the POLICE OFFICER that showed up told me they have NO ANIMAL CONTROL… I questioned the officer and he tells me the city has no animal control for the entire city. The police officer was unable to capture the vicious dog and simply left the area, talk about public safety??? So you have police officers picking up dogs when they should be fighting crime. Not surprised to have low morale when you have police officers picking up dogs. Chief Rojas what a joke!

  2. Cc

    Looks like ream and Walters took all the city funds, how sad

    • Walters was under contract when he was forced out. The blame falls on the Council.

    • cook

      that’s funny considering the council hand pick guy makes more per year that the both combined you had mentioned. And that was after a 30 plus year careers, not on the first day.

  3. tom

    While the staffing levels are at an all time low, Santa Ana upper management feels the need to place officers downtown and in the civic center area because mouthy little girls from irvine run there mouth and get beat to death. They also cater to the homeless with the “HEART” program taking more officers away from patrol. Rojas does not care and now that he is chief he got what he wanted. I just hope he realizes it can be taken away as fast as he got it. So much for an open employment process for chief huh Rojas? Feel proud about that? Maybe there should be a complete renovation of the city counsil members so the emphasis goes back to the Citizens not the immigrants.

  4. Anonymous

    When is the city going to WAKE UP???!!

    Economics 101; if you fail to have thriving businesses in the city, then how are you able to gain revenue to pay for police and other services???

    The city of Santa Ana is the WORST city in Orange County to do business. Unless your trying to open up a taco truck, transient shelter (every street corner) or a marijuana dispensary….good luck.

    Ask ANY business that is trying to expand or open up a small or commercial size company……nightmare. The city of Santa Ana does everything it can to slow or stop you from improving the city.

    I have been a resident for more years than I can count; home owner and business owner. The city council wants this city to remain poor….it lacks vision and basic leadership! Nothing has changed with the new city manager. Everyone is too busy thanking each other for being an all Latino city council… one cares pendejos….accept you and your blind followers.

    Best way to describe the city and the people who run it; clueless, incompetent and arrogant. Take a moment and watch the city council meetings. Educate your self….talk to some of the small non corporate businesses. Ask them what they think about the city government.

    Be safe SAPD…

    God bless the Santa Ana Police and the United States of America!

  5. Cc

    Awesome remark , I’m glad some one sees my point a view…city is a train wreck…


    Please keep the brave men and women of the Santa Ana Police Department in your thoughts and prayers and think twice when voting for the elected officials. SAPD has the ability to be great again and I hope that things improve soon. I have a friend there who has worked for two and a half decades and while he is concerned, he is optimistic that the Chief will recognize the concerns of its citizens and hard working employees who are carrying a tremendous work load.

  7. Cc

    Our current mayor already took a great fire department away from Santa Ana I hope the police department doesn’t get that treatment

  8. Jedi Roundtable

    Maybe you didn’t get elected because of your poor grammar and lack of education. Lets break this down as someone who could be your campaign manager;

    “I do not understand the complaints here!” – Good sentence, but I would explain to your readers as to why you don’t understand.

    “I have ran for the city council in 2002, 2004, 2006, and 2008 so the people had a choose.” – Again, there is no grammar check so you have to actually know how to speak. I would have said; “I’ve ran for a position on the city council in 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2008; so it’s the people’s choice.” or “…so the voters choose.” You can’t use ‘people’ because that would indicate that everyone in Santa Ana can vote, when in actuality it’s only about 10% who can legally vote.

    “Now the people got what they chosen.” – I understand what you’re saying, but lets place the focus back on grammar. It should be something like “Now the people get what they voted for.”

    “Next time put your $hit where it belongs.” – I don’t understand? What $#!t are you referring to or where one would put it.

    I think if people actually voted for you in a council campaign, they were only friends and family because any normal person who can speak properly would not be able to understand what your 5th grade education has to offer.

    • Dear Jedi,

      It is my comment and my art not yours. If you do not like my writing stile do not read it.

      Obviously you are valuing the intellect over intelligence which makes you an intellectual moron mongoloid.

      [“Next time put your $hit where it belongs.” – I don’t understand? What $#!t are you referring to or where one would put it.]………. Hmmmmmmm

      Do you see what I mean?……… no IQ!

      Hint: Normally you should not carry your shit in the cranial cavity.

  9. Sorry. We’re having problems with spammers.

  10. Anonymous

    What a bunch of IDIOTS! I am glad I don’t live in Santa Ana!

  11. Guadalupe

    The council has to save money for the multi-million street car to nowhere!!!

  12. Driving that train, high on cocaine
    Miguel, you better watch your speed
    Trouble ahead, trouble behind
    And you know that notion just crossed my mind

  13. Manuel Delgadillo

    Mr. Art Pedroza,

    Lets define “Morale” the state of spirits of an individual or group, as shown in the willingness to perform assigned task, confidence, cheerfulness, and discipline. In my book this appears to be a state of mind and this state of mind may change from time to time. Police officer have plenty of discipline, confidence and willingness, what may change is the cheerfulness. This could be due to the work place, personal, medical reasons or the normal cycle of change itself. According to your article in the New Santa Ana named “Morale at the understaffed Santa Ana Police Department at an all time low.” I beg to differ. There will always be doomsayers in every career field from the average citizen to police officers, politicians and publishers as yourself who need readers. Doom sells.

    The City of Santa Ana has a new Chief of Police, Carlos Rojas. Lets not forget that Chief Rojas inherited the police department with the staffing levels left by former Police Chief Walters. Chief Rojas is slowly addressing these issues with a well calculated plan but change from the old regime to the new regime was inevitable and absolutely necessary. I will cite a few examples of changes in general. The United State of America Armed Forces has downsized, corporations down size and police departments downsize in part due to economics, technology and a city’s financial health. These are no surprises.

    There is mention that officers are leaving to other departments. The article makes it sound like there is a mass exodus. This is not the case but maybe a few officers may be looking and everyone is entitled to seek employment else where. But as the old adage clearly states “The grass may not always be greener on the other side.” For an police officer who wants to become proficient in numerous areas of expertise. There is no place like the City of Santa Ana in terms of activity. The article mentions officers retiring. Retirements occur in any professional field and law enforcement is no exception. Some officers retire due to medical, its time and or a change of profession.

    The article is great material for doomsayers but to me the glass is always half full and I am ready to pour more in it. There is plenty of good at the Santa Ana Police Department from new hires, enthused police explorers, great officers and the Santa Ana Police Department Community Oriented Policing philosophy. Former SAPD Chief Paul Walters had an undeniably great run and with Santa Ana City Council support so will our current Chief Carlos Rojas.

    • I remain disappointed with Rojas on many levels and expect much more from him because he is a Latino. Yet it seems like business as usual at the SAPD.

      And yes there are many good officers leaving although some of that is due to retirement.

      Rojas was hired without the benefit of a real search so he now needs to step it up. And know that I have requested information from the department about response times. That will be posted as soon as we have received it and digested the information.

      • Paul

        It’s nice to see how this all comes down to race. If Rojas was African-American, would his performance be acceptable. How would you rate him if he was Asian? Or maybe your scale has him consistent with a Caucasion.

        • Perhaps you didn’t get the memo but Santa Ana is a majority Latino town. I suspect that is why the all Latino City Council hired Rojas without properly searching for a candidate. But so far he is not showing that being Latino is going to make much of a difference.

  14. Mark I. Lopez


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