Fact Check of Andrew Coolidge

In the 2014 City Council Candidate Questionnaire by the Chamber of Commerce, Andrew Coolidge said this:

the large increasing crime rate in Chico is making it a less attractive location for new officers

Here are the FBI statistics:

Violent Crime Rate per 100,000  in 2013

Chico               338
US                   368
Redding           643

Property Crime Rate

US                   2731
Chico               2915
Redding           4146

I don’t see large crime rates for Chico. Despite our understaffing.

I was concerned about that and the reported lack of applicants for open officer positions.  And a number of people have written letter to the editor saying that officers leave home every day not knowing if they’ll make it back to see their families.  So I looked up the numbers and found that being a police officer is moderately dangerous but not especially so.  Two third of the occupational fatalities for sworn officers are transportation accidents and the other third are felonious incidents.  And people, including Councilors and the City Clerk, went bonkers that someone dared to challenging the prevailing myth.

I was just floored.  I sought to reassure applicants that being an officer is not too dangerous, and to reassure loved ones that the odds of their officer not returning is very low.  And I found that being an officer is less dangerous than be a farmworker, and said that I’d be happy if my own children applied to be an officer (one is a farmworker now).

I realize now that there is a brave warrior mythology built up around sworn officers, and it is used to justify exorbitant compensation, which reduces the number of officers we can afford, and which scares off potential applicant.

Councilors, you need to make evidence-based decisions, not emotional ones based on police union mythology.

From Fillmer’s idea that anecdotal evidence trumps Bureau of Labor Statistics and FBI data on occupations risks, to Schwab’s false numbers on the % of the General Fund being devoted to public safety and comparing that to a Santa Barbara study, the is a concerted effort to spread disinformation on police risk, pay, share of our resources.  I guess they’re having fun eviscerating all other city services.

I had this thought.  Are conservative councilors proud of paying police and fire such high and above market rates?  What would Ronald Reagan have thought?  Didn’t he fire the air traffic controllers?  And are progressive councilors proud of increasing income disparities between the Haves and Have Nots?  What would Elizabeth Warren think about you paying police 4 times the average household income in Chico?