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Private funding for policing positions offer temporary public safety fix

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REDDING, Calif. - With the city facing funding gaps and challenging changes to state law, private funding is providing much-needed assistance to law enforcement in Redding. 

In recent months, several groups in the Redding community have offered to assist with public safety. 

The Redding Tourism Marketing Group voted last week to spend money generated by taxes on their industry on the salary for a new Redding officer. Bethel Church of Redding continues to organize efforts to fund the Neighborhood Policing Unit, and Win River Hotel and Resort has also voted to contribute funds towards the Redding Police Department.

According to city manager Barry Tippin, the Redding Police Department employs 20 fewer sworn officers than they did prior to the recession. Currently, Redding has seven officers patrolling at a time. Tippin explained that is not enough to make up for the economic development in Redding, along with certain California laws making it hard for the justice system. 

"In the short term we're trying to get around the issue because it's not just our funding, it's all the changes in state law," Tippin said. "So the things that we're coping with right now have to do with AB 109, which is the police release program, (and) Propositions 47 and 57, which were voted in by the voters of California."

As a small density population in a largely geographical area, Tippen  explains that Redding does not receive adequate revenue from sales tax and property tax. 

Redding treats the funding as they would grants, citing improved proactive policing units supported by the programs.

"This gives us an opportunity to have specific eyes on the trail or in specific locations with immediate contact back from law enforcement as needed and putting a stop to it," Tippen said. "Because eyes on criminals (are) exactly what criminals don't want."

The Redding City Council still has to approve the funding from Redding Tourism Marketing. The city has also agreed to a contract with Northstate Security to provide two security guards who will patrol the river trail on bikes.

Bethel has already provided the city with fund to support the Neighborhood Policing Unit, and is spearheading further fundraising efforts. 

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