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West Sacramento Police Officers Protest Outside State of the City Address

WEST SACRAMENTO -- There has always been plenty to talk about in recent State of the City addresses -- with Raley Field as the cornerstone, planned growth with high-end housing developments with unique design features, West Sacramento has been a city on the move.

Thursday, Mayor Christopher Cabaldon spoke about the new social bicycle ride service and the electric jump bike rentals that will begin soon. But outside, city police officers held a protest to say West Sacramento's progressive programs come at a cost.

The police union says officers are leaving the department for nearby cities because salaries are now 20 percent below the going rate.

"It’s nice to have all these special projects, but if you can’t afford the going rate that’s a problem," Nick Barreiro, the union's vice president, told FOX40.

Losing officers means they are reacting to 911 calls rather than having the resources to do preventative policing.

Drugs, gangs, prostitution, even things like vehicle burglaries. If we’re just reacting, if we’re running from 911 to 911 calls because we don’t have enough officers," Barreiro said.

The city says the department is fully staffed and that a certain amount of attrition is normal. A city spokesperson said its longstanding position is that it doesn’t comment on negotiations in public. Part of the frustration is that the union says the city has acknowledged the pay disparity issue.

Their arguing point is that the amenities that the city brags about won’t mean much if public safety doesn’t come with it. The mayor says he appreciates the hard work of the cities police officers but will not comment while negotiations are underway.