Press Release: Benicia Police Department Holds Community Meetings, Informs of Potential Budget Cut Impacts

Benicia Police Department Holds Community Meetings, Informs of Potential Budget Cut Impacts

A presentation on Monday, February 12, by the Benicia Police Department Chief of Police Mike Greene highlighted the historic low crime rates, as well as the potential devastating implications the looming budget cuts may have on the Department and community.


In 2023, the Police Department responded to 21,733 calls, involving 361 FBI Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Part 1 offenses. These offenses are considered the most serious crimes, and include homicides, robberies, and violent assaults, among other things. While this number of offenses is 22% less than the average over the last five years, there is an upward trend in offenses involving firearms, narcotics, and non-compliant individuals. Arrests with firearms increased by 84%; arrests with narcotics increased by 46%; and non-compliant cases increased by 50%. Additionally, the Police Department responded to the community’s concerns about traffic safety and issued nearly triple the number of traffic citations in 2023 compared to the average over the last five years.


During his presentation, Chief Greene stated, “Benicia remains one of the safest communities to live in. I couldn’t be prouder of that.”  However, addressing possible cuts to the department budget, Greene explained that “this will have significant impacts to the Police Department and the community.”


Chief Greene discussed the impacts of a potential 10% budget reduction, should the revenue measures on the March 2024 ballot not pass. He said it could result in the loss of essential personnel, including one lieutenant, one sergeant, three officers, two full-time community service officers and three part-time community service officers.


With this loss the department would no longer have an investigations unit and serious crimes would be investigated by patrol officers. In addition, the School Resource Officer Program would be eliminated, which would also require patrol officers to address school-related issues. Finally, the Family Resource Center, an invaluable resource for families and seniors in need, would be shut down. All current clients would have to be referred to Solano County or the State for services. In essence, the department would no longer be able to take a preventative and proactive approach to public safety. There would be less time available to resolve conflicts and address the community’s needs, resulting in a reduction in service, and the potential for an increase in crime.


Chief Greene will be retiring at the end of February 2024. Lieutenant Mark Menesini will fill the vacancy as interim police chief while the City completes a thorough recruitment process to select a permanent chief. On Tuesday, February 13 the City of Benicia held a Town Hall meeting that gave the community a chance to offer input on the characteristics and qualities desired in the next police chief.