Stanley McFadden’s top priority at Stockton’s Police Chief is simple to state, but certainly not easy to achieve. His goal is to keep the police officers he has under his command and find new ones.
McFadden spoke extensively about officer retention during his first full press conference with the local media on June 8. He was sworn in as Chief on June 3.
He said he knew when he decided to accept the position that the faltering roster of Stockton PD officers was the No. 1 concern.
“It’s of no surprise, we’re losing officers, and I need to stop the bleeding. We need to tourniquet what’s going on here so we can retain the men and women of this police department,” McFadden said. “We need a lot more personnel. We’re a very thinly-staffed department, and the more resources that we can onboard, the more services we can provide.”
He said the department currently has 406 officers, but is budgeted for 485. Two of the biggest challenges that McFadden said he faces are providing competitive salaries and providing for the wellness of the officers. Stockton officers are paid less on average than many cops in surrounding cities.
“My officers know they’re the lowest paid, but they still suit up every day, they still come out and do incredible work,” McFadden said. “They’re still here in my office, emotional about their ties to Stockton.”
He said he has been speaking individually with officers, including some who are leaving the department, in an attempt to improve the situation. He plans to introduce wellness initiatives for all Stockton PD employees.
“If they’re not well, if they’re not feeling good about themselves, then they’re not going to be effective on the streets,” McFadden said. “It’s important that their supervisors, myself, we support them and that we ensure they’re always known as people behind the badge, not just the badge.”
McFadden is Stockton’s 50th chief, and the first Black Man to head up the department. He stated that he doesn’t dwell on that distinction, but he is happy he can be seen as a “recruiting tool. People like to see people who look like them. And if I can be that person of color who has a leading role in something, and it inspires people of color when it comes to police work, then that’s a win.”
He has lived in San Joaquin County for more than 20 years, and commuted to his job with the San Jose Police Department. He joked that he wasn’t going to voluntarily drive over the Altamont anytime soon. He is also very familiar with Stockton, having coached fastpitch softball in the city for several years. But he plans to venture out and learn much more by getting to know the city’s citizens.
“I’m going to be walking in every neighborhood myself. I want to hear from the community members myself. I want to respond and address the issues myself,” McFadden said. “We’ll hit the four corners, and ensure I can establish a good deployment model to where we can be more visible in those areas.”