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Grand Jury says Central Coast police department recovering from deep budget cuts, but still needs help

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Lompoc Police
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A new Santa Barbara County Grand Jury report says the Lompoc Police Department is recovering from big budget cuts, but still needs help.

Report suggests that Lompoc contract with Santa Barbara County to insure the community is fully covered.

A new Santa Barbara County Grand Jury report says a Central Coast police department is recovering after losing more than half of its funding several years ago, but that it still needs help.

The Grand Jury looked at how the city of Lompoc’s financial issues in the mid-2010’s hit the city’s police department hard. The report says that the public safety agency went from 51 to 31 officers.

The report notes that the department is now rebuilding. As of November, the agency had 45 officers, with increased pay to try to keep them from jumping to higher paid departments.

But, the Grand Jury is calling on the city to contract with the County Sheriff’s Office for help. It says the city needs to have a co-response team to deal with people with mental health issues. And, it says a contract with the county could fill staffing gaps until the department is back to full strength.