VALLEJO, Calif. (KGO) -- In a unanimous vote Tuesday night, the Vallejo City Council passed a declaration of emergency over the city's police officer shortage.
The declaration means that the city will be allowed to streamline all available resources to the police department to try and address the staffing crisis.
The move comes as concerns among local residents about crime in the city continue to grow.
"Honestly, I think we need more police officers here. It's getting really out of hand," said Augusta Browne.
Browne has lived in Vallejo for almost 15 years. She says she's experienced the issues with police staffing shortages herself.
"I was in a situation here when my roommate was going off. They took three hours to get here," she said.
The interim police chief says his department has a problem with both recruiting and retaining officers.
"Today, we have 34 patrol officers, we have no traffic officers, and we have four detectives," said Chief Jason Ta.
While these issues are especially pronounced in Vallejo, experts say they're also happening around the country.
"Since Memorial Day of 2020, we have had agency after agency report exactly what it is that the Vallejo Police Department is currently reporting," said Justice Studies professor, Greg Woods.
The Vallejo Police Department has been under scrutiny for several years and is currently under supervision by the Department of Justice.
It was especially criticized for the 2020 shooting death of Sean Monterrosa.
While many are calling for more officers to be added, they also believe the department has to hire people who can repair its reputation.
"Once we can establish what it is we need in the form of policing, we can then take a long view approach to cultivating those credible relationships with the community," Woods said.
Because for Browne, the status quo simply isn't working.
"I just do not feel safe. So when the rent starts going down, I'm moving out of Vallejo."
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