The Vallejo Police Department has refuted a post from the Vallejo Police Officers Association that suggested the city’s 911 dispatch center is “on the brink of nighttime closure” due to a critical staffing shortage.

“The VPOA’s news release was filled with mistruths,” reads the statement from the police department. “It suggested that VPD would close nighttime emergency dispatch operations. That statement could not be further from the truth. No staffing decisions have been made by either Chief Wiliams or the city manager.”

Police Chief Shawny Williams said that the City of Vallejo does indeed have a 30 percent staffing vacancy rate across all positions, though he says that he has been working to “determine a strategy to increase competitiveness and retention” among dispatch staff.

“We want to be clear that in the interim, there will be no disruption or interruption to public safety services,” VPD said. “We have made adjustments to shift scheduling that ensures the dispatch center is staffed 24/7. We want to thank our dedicated employees for their flexibility and commitment to our community.”

The Vallejo Police Union has been very vocal about the department’s staffing issues and the chief in general, whose leadership the president of the union, Michael Nichelini, directly blames for officers leaving Vallejo for other departments. Nichelini is currently suing the City of Vallejo for terminating him.

In the VPOA’s press release issued May 25, the union said “it is believed” that the VPD is considering a plan to hand over nighttime dispatch services to another outside entity. The union also claims that dispatchers might be forced to work 12 to 16 hour shifts.

Katy St. Clair got her start in journalism by working in the classifieds department at the East Bay Express during the height of alt weeklies, then sweet talked her way into becoming staff writer, submissions editor, and music editor. She has been a columnist in the East Bay Express, SF Weekly, and the San Francisco Examiner. Starting in 2015, she begrudgingly scaled the inverted pyramid at dailies such as the Vallejo Times-Herald, The Vacaville Reporter, and the Daily Republic. She has her own independent news site and blog that covers the delightfully dysfunctional town of Vallejo, California, where she also collaborates with the investigative team at Open Vallejo. A passionate advocate for people with developmental disabilities, she serves on both the Board of the Arc of Solano and the Arc of California. She lives in Vallejo.