Stockton, CA- Stockton’s City Council met on Tuesday, January 31st in a study session of the Marshall Plan — a plan to combat the city`s escalating crime.
The Plan, composed of five phases, is now entering phase two (2) better known as the analysis phase. City Manager, Bob Deis, and other city leaders estimate that the overall plan will take at least a year for its actual implementation.
At the conclusion of phase one (1), community leaders had been selected to form a twenty member committee that will lead the Marshall Plan.
The list, which is pending city council approval, includes: Ann Johnston, Stockton’s Mayor; Elbert Holman, Stockton City Council Member; Bob Deis, Stockton’s City Manager; Eric Jones, Stockton Police Chief; Patti Mazzilli, Chief Probation Officer; David Warner, Presiding Superior Court Judge; Steve Moore, San Joaquin County Sheriff; James Willett, District Attorney; Peter Fox, Public Defender; Reverend J. Wayne Bibelheimer, Quail Lakes Baptist Church; Pastor Glen Shields, Progressive Community Church; Doug Wilhoit, CEO, Greater Stockton Chamber of Commerce; Carl Toliver, Superintendent, Stockton Unified School District; Bobby Bivens, NAACP; Benjamin Saffold, Chair of Public Safety Committee; Jose Rodriguez, CEO, Council for the Spanish Speaking; Ralph Womack, Peacekeepers; Mark Martinez, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; Ger Vang, Lao Family Community of Stockton; Sovanna Koeurt, Asian Pacific Self-Development and Residential Association.
However, citizens and council members question if the development of the Marshall Plan is moving in the “right” direction. “The committee does not reflect grass root community leaders who experience crime firsthand,” highlighted Robert Rojas, Director of the Multicultural Heritage Council.
Also, the implementation of the plan was a concern, “Is going to be a year before we come up with the final product, crime is something that needs to be addressed sooner rather than later,” said Councilman Dale Fritchen.
During the meeting Deis proposed investing $150,000 to hire an outside consultant, David Bennet, to lead the committee. Bennet is an expert in jails and courts, his Utah record demonstrates that he can “produced change”, noted Deis, who has worked with Bennet in the past.
“There is no way I can support paying $150,000 dollars for a consultant from out-of-state to come in and tell us what we need to do to solve our crime problem,” said Fritchen. The other Council members support hiring the consultant.
Meanwhile, as the discussion and planning of the Marshall Plan continues, the police department looks for ways to be proactive on the streets. “During this entire process, we had to be innovative, and look for the best practices with limited staffing,” said Interim Chief of Police, Blair Ulring, also present at the meeting.
This year, 17 more officers will be added to the Stockton Police Department, bringing the staffing level to 361 officers of the 441 the department had a couple years ago; this is “much better than where we are today” says Ulring.