Santa Maria - North County

Lompoc police unable to host National Night Out event due to low staffing levels

LOMPOC, Calif. - Police departments across the country will be hosting National Night Out events Tuesday, but one Central Coast police department says it won't be able to participate due to low staffing levels.

Lompoc police previously told our newsroom that the department didn't have the manpower to host the event.

In a statement released Tuesday, the department said, "Due to staffing limitations, Lompoc Police Department will not be participating in National Night Out. Every effort will be made to participate next year as we have in the past."

The event has been around since 1984 and is designed to build police-community partnerships and make neighborhoods safer. Many neighborhoods will host block parties, parades and festivals.

In June, the Lompoc City Council passed a budget that included more than $3 million in cuts. That involved holding some two dozen positions unfilled, including three police officer jobs.

The department previously held steady with about 50 officers, but as of July, the department was down to just 36 officers. During budget discussions, the Lompoc police chief repeatedly told city officials that the department would be forced from proactive to reactive policing if cuts were made.

National Night Out events will still be held Tuesday night in Santa Maria, San Luis Obispo, Grover Beach and Atascadero.

The Santa Maria event runs from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at Preisker Park.

There will be several events in San Luis Obispo, including from 5 to 7 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church on Marsh Street.

The Grover Beach event runs from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at 16th Street Park.

The Atascadero event runs from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Atascadero Police Department, which is located at 5505 El Camino Real.

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