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Officer Safety - Council Approves Police Funding
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CrimeStoppers has re-issued a reward notice for information in the early summer shooting of an Escalon police officer and the city's council members have approved additional funding for the department to heighten officer safety.

Area Rite Aid stores have posted flyers seeking any information regarding the early morning attempted burglary and subsequent shooting and wounding of Officer Shane Johnson on June 21. Johnson accosted the suspect and during a subsequent struggle, the officer was shot and wounded. The suspect fled the scene.

Johnson has not yet returned to the force, still recuperating from shoulder surgery.

"Shane is on our minds, we're doing what we can in following up," Escalon Police Chief Jim Shaw said of continuing the investigation in hopes of making an arrest or catching a break.

He noted that CrimeStoppers officials had posted a reward earlier, they just wanted to bring the case back into focus.

"They felt there was no harm in casting the net out again," Shaw said, with the goal of getting some additional leads in the case.

Callers can leave an anonymous tip about the incident behind the Rite Aid store on Jackson Avenue in Escalon by calling CrimeStoppers at (209) 521-4636. Tips can be e-mailed at, or text them to CRIMES (274637) by typing "Tip704" plus the message and be eligible for a cash reward if the information leads to an arrest.

As far as Johnson's prognosis, Shaw said he is on the mend.

"We're leaving it up to his medical team regarding how much recovery time is needed," said Shaw.

Meanwhile, at the Nov. 7 Escalon City Council meeting, the council unanimously approved an additional appropriation of $30,000 for the police department from the General Fund Reserve to pay for additional reserve officer hours. The goal is to maintain the two officers on duty during all shifts.

"It's a second set of eyes, some physical back up so if something does happen in the city, we have a response time of two to three minutes vs. 10 to 15 minutes," said Shaw.

If just one officer is on duty and assistance is needed, it has to come from a neighboring department, such as Ripon, or the San Joaquin County Sheriff's Department, with response times varying. A second on duty officer in the city at all times would dramatically lower the response time and provide an extra measure of protection for officers and the community.

"The city council was very supportive of us," Shaw said in seeing the appropriation approved. The added $30,000 will cover the department through the end of the calendar year, keeping at least two officers on duty per shift.

"Staff will then re-evaluate the staffing and cost during the (fiscal) mid-year budget review for the possibility of additional funding," City Manager Henry Hesling noted in the staff report to the council.

Reserve officers are continuing to pick up shifts to help cover in lieu of Johnson's absence and the department added a new fulltime officer earlier this fall in K.J. Vandagriff, a former reserve. His position is being financed with a grant and Shaw said additional reserves are now being sought.

"We have one very promising recruit right now, he's a former Explorer," Shaw added.

The department is also looking to re-energize its Volunteer Senior Patrol and anyone interested in learning more about that can contact Police Services Manager Dorothy Vandagriff at 691-7301.

"It's a service we can certainly use around the department and the city," the chief explained.

Senior volunteers assist with vacation checks, special events, crowd control and community outreach efforts.