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Old 09-05-2006, 09:04 PM   #1
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Default Kings arena issues discussion

Sacramento Bee, August 31:

Short-staffed and struggling with a Sacramento crime spike, the city's police union publicly announced its opposition Wednesday to the Nov. 7 ballot measures for a downtown railyard NBA arena, saying city officials have made no promises to boost staffing to cover the new facility and surrounding development.

But if the city were willing to commit to minimum staffing requirements, the union would change its stance, said Jerry Camous, president of the Sacramento County Police Officers Association.

"If they built that in somehow, we wouldn't stand in opposition," Camous said in an interview after a press conference called Wednesday by opponents of the arena proposal.

And would the SPOA reverse itself and support arena ballot measures Q and R? "It's possible," Camous said.

Camous said at the news conference at his group's headquarters that the association wasn't opposed to the concept of a downtown arena. His concern was public safety, he said. The department had a severe staffing shortage, with 674 positions filled out of 796 authorized.

To be at minimum staffing levels, the city should have about 900 officers -- a ratio of 500 residents to 1 officer, Camous said.
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