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Modesto Officers Reassigned by Staff Shortage

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MODESTO-

The Modesto Police Department says it will start reassigning officers from its two special units to patrol.

The department has been hit hard by a  staff shortage due to retirements and officers quitting their job to take higher paying position in other departments.

"Ideally, we'd like to have 107 (officers). We have about 80, which is a sign that we have to do some things," Modesto Police spokesperson Heather Graves said.

That means transferring officers from units like gangs,  narcotics and the problem oriented crime reduction team into patrol.

Graves says that having officers on the street is a core function of the department but she also says that crimes can often be prevented by the specialty units.

Modesto resident Randy Davidson have mixed feelings.

"I think it's really important to have officers on the street. That's one of the most important things," he said.

But Davidson also says that Modesto has a huge gang problem and that game claims can be prevented by specialty units.

"It's a no-win situation," Davidson told FOX40.

Graves said there are recruits now in the police academy finishing their training and, hopefully, the specialty units can return to full staffing.

But at least a dozen senior officers have let it be known  known that they plan to leave the department.

The department has taken huge budget cuts over the past few years and Modesto voters recently turned down a sales tax increase to help fund public safety.