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February 4, 2023

CHP on the rebound following officer shortage

SACRAMENTO—The California Highway Patrol is set to swear in 77 new officers at a ceremony today at its Academy in West Sacramento. 

The move comes as the CHP is down a large number of officers during the pandemic blended with an unusual number of retiring officers.

CHP spokeswoman Commander Sarah Richards said that typically the CHP would invite family, friends, CHP employees and the media to the ceremony, but because of Covid-19, the cadets will receive their badges in a special physical distance ceremony. 

“The new officers begin their careers with more real-life experience than any other class,” Richards said. “The CHP closed its live-in Academy in West Sacramento on March 20 and sent the seven women and 70 men of Cadet Training Class III-19 on temporary work assignments in CHP Area offices near their residences.” 

In September, all members of the class returned to complete their training at the reopened Academy under enhanced health and safety measures, Richards said.

CHP officer Sam Courtney, of the Santa Cruz area CHP office, said there was around a 25% shortage of uniformed officers at that office. They typically operate with 63 uniformed officers. However, four of the upcoming graduates of the Academy are slated to come on board at the Santa Cruz office, on Freedom Boulevard in Aptos, on Nov. 9.

Tarmo Hannula
Tarmo Hannula has been the lead photographer with The Pajaronian newspaper in Watsonville since 1997. He also reports on a wide range of topics, including police, fire, environment, schools, the arts and events. A fifth generation Californian, Tarmo was born in the Mother Lode of the Sierra (Columbia) and has lived in Santa Cruz County since the late 1970s. He earned a BA from UC Santa Cruz and has traveled to 33 countries.

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