Stockton police chief releases strategic plan for 2020

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STOCKTON, Calif. (KTXL) -- Stockton Police Chief Eric Jones released his new strategic plan Tuesday for law enforcement in the city of Stockton.

"We still need to reduce crime, reduce blight, improve trust in our community and hire a very diverse and professional workforce," Jones said.

While the goals are the same as past plans, there was a shift to focus on training the department's more than 470 officers as opposed to just hiring more.

"We have the most police officer positions than we have ever had in the history of Stockton," Jones explained. "Now it's about increasing our diversity in the police department as we continue to hire staff and also ensuring we're doing more and more training."

The police department's strategic plan was created with input from officers and other department staff, along with feedback from the police chief's Community Advisory Board.

"It's a fantastic plan. It's not overly ambitious, it's practical and it's doable, and we're already moving in all the directions that are laid out," said Fred Sheil, who has been a member of the board since it was established in 2012.

Sheil told FOX40 he was happy to see more attention to combating neighborhood blight in the new plan.

"You've got some tremendous looking homes right next to a house that's just tore up and nobody is doing anything about it and it really gets people ticked off," Sheil said.

Also part of the plan is the department's continued efforts to build trust between police and the community.

"We absolutely know that increased trust within police can reduce crime, specifically violent crime," Jones said.

Jones said reducing violent crime is still the number one goal.

"That really comes down to the definition of community policing for me and my department is get out of the police car and have positive interactions and get to know the community," Jones said. "That's how you find out what's going on. That's how you increase trust. That's how you actually solve more crime."

There were 34 homicides in Stockton in 2019 and 33 in 2018, compared to the record high 71 homicides in 2012.

Jones said that while even one homicide is too many, he's encouraged the numbers are trending down.

"The fact that we are seeing reductions in the long term, over the long-term trend line, is showing us that we're working in the right direction but it also shows we have a lot more hard work to do," he said.

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