SANTA CRUZ, Calif. -

Wowak said the department has started to see the effects of those vacancies in the form of longer response times to calls and an uptick in crime.

Since 2009, 17 deputy positions and one sergeant position have been vacant within the department. In June, during budget time, Wowak said he'll make the bare minimum request for three criminalists and four deputies. By hiring criminalists, deputies currently assigned to the crime laboratory will be relieved for patrol.  This request by Wowak would fill seven out of 17 positions currently vacant.