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Survey: Chowchilla residents back safety

A recently commissioned, independent survey shows Chowchilla residents overwhelmingly support maintaining the city’s public safety services, according to City Administrator Brian Haddix.

“Ninety percent of residents approved of both the Police and Fire Departments, and strong majorities supported maintaining current levels of public safety services,” Haddix said.

The survey was conducted Oct. 24-29, 2017, by the opinion research firm FM3 Research, which has extensive experience polling in the Central Valley, Haddix said.

“We’re gratified that our residents feel that we’re doing such an excellent job” said Police Chief David Riviere. “Our police officers and volunteer firefighters work hard to keep Chowchilla safe, and we want to continue providing the services our residents rely on,” he added.

“However, 80 percent of residents believe the city’s crime rate has increased significantly in the last few years, and 61 percent of residents say gangs and drugs are significant issues in the community.”

When asked whether they thought the city needs additional funding for public safety services, to address these concerns and make up for state takeaways from Chowchilla’s budget, respondents responded in the affirmative.

“Over the last 10 years, the Legislature has taken nearly $3 million in local funds from Chowchilla, making it harder and harder to provide police and fire services at the level our residents expect and deserve,” said Mayor Dennis Haworth. “We place a high priority on public safety — protecting it during the recession at the expense of other city services, yet these actions by Sacramento put a strain on us all.”

Residents expressed support for key public safety services, including maintaining drug and gang enforcement and prevention services, protecting the local police department, and maintaining 911 fire and emergency medical response times.

Said Riviere, “Chowchilla’s fire and police respond to more calls for fire and medical emergencies each year, and it’s getting tougher to maintain our fast response times. We must do more to ensure every call for fire or a medical emergency receives a fast response and saves lives.

“We look forward to continuing to discuss our vital community service needs and evaluating how best to maintain these services, particularly public safety and protecting our local funds,” said Haddix. “We are committed to keeping the public informed about the steps we can take to ensure that Chowchilla remains safe and provides the kinds of services our residents need.”

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