Novato is protected by a police force of 58 sworn officers and 19 support staff, based at the station at Machin and…More De Long avenues in the Old Town area.
Under Chief Joseph Kreins, NPD's organizational chart shows two captains, three lieutentants, an investigations sergeant, a traffic sergeant, six more sergeants, two detectives and 33 officers. Kreins said statistics prove that Novato is safter than most cities of comparable size, including San Rafael and Petaluma. In 2009, violent crimes in Novato fell for the second consecutive year (157 in 2007, 118 in 2008, 102 in 2009). The total number of crimes committed in 2009 was almost identical to what it was 20 years ago, according to the Department of Justice.
The police have not been immune to city budget cuts made to combat sagging property taxes and sales taxes. Staffing is 1.096 officers per 1,000; the FBI recommends 2.0 officers per 1,000 citizens. San Rafael and Petaluma are both at 1.3 officers per 1,000 people. In 2011-12, Novato police will be forced to lay off three sworn officers, bringing the total to 55.
The station, completed in 1979, includes a garden completed in 2009 donated by Novato resident Jacques Bitton, his family and many other contributors. The garden is on the south side of the station and serves as a break area for police personnel itching for a break from the office or their patrol cruisers.