Rio Vista should address several issues at its police department to better serve the community, according to a Solano County grand jury report released Thursday.
The grand jury regularly researches condition and management of the public jails and agencies within the county. During the jury's inquiry in Rio Vista, it found several issues that it recommends the department address, including personnel retention, ongoing training, prisoner detentions and dispatch services.
According to the grand jury, Rio Vista has a hard time retaining it police department personnel.
"Due to the relatively low rate of pay at the Rio Vista Police Department, there is little incentive for officers to remain beyond their probationary period," the report said.
The jury recommended that if Rio Vista is unable to pay a sufficient salary to attract and retain qualified police officers, then it should consider contracting with the Solano County Sheriff's Office for police service.
Due to the lack of a local training facility and relative remoteness from training sources, the grand jury also found that ongoing training is an issue for the department.
The jury recommended the development of a training plan in concert with the other law enforcement departments in Solano County.
The jury also noted that there are no holding cells or a facility to properly secure those placed under arrest. Instead, they are taken to the Solano County Jail in Fairfield by police officers who
have other duties -- and it's a two-hour, round-trip drive.
The jury also determined that the Rio Vista department has, "an uncommon relationship with the Contra Costa County Sheriff Department."
In fact, the Rio Vista contracts for dispatch communication services with the Contra Costa Sheriff Department Dispatch Center. When assistance is needed, according to the grand jury, it is provided by deputies from Contra Costa Sheriff's Department and other agencies in Solano County and Sacramento. The report explained that in a 9-1-1 emergency, the call goes to the Contra Costa County Sheriff's dispatch center and then is directed to Solano County, where the dispatcher is told the type of emergency and dispatches the proper assistance.
Rio Vista Chief of Police William Bowen, according to the grand jury, said his department is in the unique and positive situation of having every agency in Solano, Contra Costa and Sacramento Counties available to assist in emergency situations or in those situations where a single additional unit or specialized unit, might be needed.
Thus, the grand jury recommended that the department should establish the ability to communicate via radio directly with law enforcement agencies within Solano County, which the jury believes could enhance the safety and service for both law enforcement officers and citizens.
"The recommendations made by this grand jury are an effort to assist in the modernization of police services required by the demands of a continually growing community," according to the report.
Rio Vista city and police department officials could not be reached for comment.