STOCKTON, Calif. — After one week on the job, Stockton’s 50th Police Chief, Stan McFadden, spoke to ABC10 Wednesday outlining what he hopes to see in the department under his leadership and describes a police force in the city that he says is “bleeding.”
For McFadden, a longtime San Joaquin County resident who most recently served as a Deputy Chief with the San Jose Police Department, Stockton is not an unfamiliar city.
“My first draw to Stockton was coaching in Stockton,” McFadden said. “From there, I've established friendships in Stockton and have met some community members in Stockton and its challenges.”
As a youth fastpitch softball coach, McFadden said he was exposed to the work and challenges of the Stockton Police Department.
“It's not only the crime challenges but there's internal challenges. We need to boost morale in the department,” McFadden said.
One of the most critical issues is the revolving door of Stockton Police officers which has left the city nearly 40 officers short of the 445 police officers authorized as of Wednesday, according to McFadden.
“It's of no surprise, we're losing officers, and I need to stop the bleeding. We need to tourniquet what's going on here,” McFadden said. “My officers know they're the lowest paid, but they still suit up every day, they still come out and do incredible work. They're still here in my office, emotional about their ties to Stockton.”
McFadden said he would like to see police officer salaries become more competitive with other local agencies. He also said he hopes to introduce more organizational wellness initiatives, prioritizing the mental health and wellbeing of officers, dispatchers and staff members.
“If they're not well, if they're not feeling good about themselves, then they're not going to be effective on the streets,” McFadden said. “It’s important that their supervisors, myself, we support them and that we ensure they're always known as people behind the badge, not just the badge.”
Recruiting and retaining officers will be key for McFadden, who hopes to launch new initiatives aimed at preventing crime and developing relationships with community members.
“My goal for each neighborhood is a micro-policing plan,” McFadden said. “Every community is unique. Every community has different challenges, so by having strong relationships, you know what resources need to be in what neighborhood.”
In addition to his micro-policing plan, tailoring police resources and response to particular neighborhoods, McFadden said he also wants to do physical walk-arounds.
“I’m going to be walking in every neighborhood myself. I want to hear from the community members myself; I want to respond and address the issues myself,” McFadden said. “We’ll hit the four corners, and ensure I can establish a good deployment model to where we can be more visible in those areas.”
On his first day as chief Thursday, results were announced from an operation led by the Stockton Police Department in conjunction with county, state and federal partners.
The operation netted 88 arrests and took 58 guns off the streets. Among those arrested and allegedly found with weapons were teenagers.
“It's very concerning,” McFadden said about the age of some of those arrested in the operation. “Something I'll be starting soon is my youth advisory board team, which I've chosen from all over Stockton.”
In addition to his youth advisory team, McFadden said he hopes to see more activities and after-school programs for youth.
According to McFadden, working with youth and community partners will help shape the narrative surrounding crime in the city of Stockton.
“I know the part I have in making the city of Stockton a success,” McFadden said. “Not only when it comes to crime prevention, reduction and building relationships, but the new vision of the of the city of Stockton, Stockton moving forward, Stockton changing the narrative.”