STOCKTON, CA - Stockton Police Chief Eric Jones didn't just swear in two more police officers Monday afternoon. He inched the department closer to an important staffing level.
"We are hopeful to get to that authorized strength of 344 in the next month or two," said Jones.
With Monday's ceremony, the Stockton Police Department is at 331 sworn officers. It's budgeted for 344 and when that mark is hit, federal funding will provide for 17 more officers after that.
"I am optimistic. I do believe we'll be competitive again. We were once a destination point for others coming here," said Jones.
Bankruptcy brought massive cuts to the department, and wages for some officers were cut up to 30 percent.
Jones said a more stable city government and police leadership is allowing him to boost staffing.
Because of extensive background checks and training, Stockton isn't expected to see the top level of 361 officers on the streets until well into 2014.