TRACY, CALIF. — Tracy's police department is in the midst of creating a new gang crimes unit, among other changes.
"We are taking a proactive approach here," said Police Chief Gary Hampton. "Previously we didn't have a dedicated gang suppression team. This new structure is a multifaceted approach with suppression, intervention and prevention."
Under Hampton's new department design, the department will be organized into three divisions. The department will hire a non-sworn commander to oversee one of the divisions — which will include dispatch, records and the fiscal management and planning unit.
This new structure will also add another police captain position to oversee general investigations, which will include the new gang task team, special investigations, forensic services and professional standards units.
The department's other captain will be in command over field patrol, traffic safety, animal services and community preservation units.
Along the new positions created, the department is also looking to hire a part-time public information officer.
Hampton said he developed this same structure in the Turlock Police Department six years ago and saw crime decrease.
"This structure has proven to be effective in reducing crime and increasing service levels," he said. "We will be able to deploy more sworn officers to first-line services then before. We will also be able to focus on gangs and street crimes, which is at the top of our priority list."
The department will also take an active roll in the local D.A.R.E program with officers teaching 5th graders about gangs.
Under this new direction, the department will not loose any current police personnel. Tracy Police has 85 sworn officers and 45 non-sworn staff members.
Starting Friday, the police department lobby will be closed every other Friday because of furloughs.