The Santa Ramona Chronicles

Local News & Events

Mayor asked for Proposals, PD Provided

The Mayor requested that all city departments and concerned citizen give her detailed proposals of initiatives they would like to see. The Santa Ramona Chronicle got their hands on a copy of what the police department sent to the Mayor. It follows in it's entirety here.

i) Mental Health Support ------------------------------ SUPPORTING INFORMATION ***********************

Background to proposal: A Police Federation survey of 17,000 officers in 2016 showed an alarming set of statistics around mental health of officers, with 39% seeking help with mental health issues. More than a quarter of officers who have taken sick leave attributed it to stress, depression or anxiety, while 65% said they still went to work even though they felt they should’t have because of the state of their mental wellbeing.

Eight of out 10 police officers suffer with symptoms of depression and anxiety due to being overworked, stress, and constant fear for their lives, these officers are at much greater risk of alcohol relate issues almost 25% of LEO(Law Enforcement Officers) are at risk of becoming alcohol dependent.

75% of LEO marriages and significant partnerships end in divorce and separation.

More LEO's die every year via suicide than are killed in the course of their duties.

Many LEO's suffer from PTSD due to regular exposure to: pain, death, human & animal cruelty and/or the living in constant fear for their lives.

WHAT WE NEED *************

Proposal from SRPD- With the above information in mind and with the understanding that SRV as the atypical ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________ town in terms of Police provision, public support and recruitment, is in no way exempt from the above ______________________________________________________________________________________________________ statistics, we need the funding for and assistance in recruiting a dedicated Physiotherapist/Counselor. _______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Key features:

* Physiotherapist/Counselor needs to have training and experience working with LEO's and firm understanding of their needs.

* Need to dedicate themselves solely to the mental health needs of the PD. To this ends, they would be required to carry out Psychological evaluations for ALL new recruits within 3 months of their employment with SRPD, they would be required to carry out Psychological evaluations in the event of an OIS(Officer involved shooting) and provide an assessment for IA(Internal Affairs) as to the Officers fitness to return to full duties, they would be required to be available on a drop in/appointment basis for LEO's who have issues they feel the need to work through.

* A Physiotherapist/Counselor who is also working with criminals/members of general public is NOT suitable as this puts extra stress both on the Officer who is needing their support and on the Physiotherapist/Counselor.

* The Physiotherapist/Counselor would not work out of SRGH or SSC as Officers are less likely to visit them when needed if they have to be seen entering medical facilities for mental health issues. The funding and re-allocation of an office within City Hall, with suitable access and privacy needs to be supplied.

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ii) VISIBLE SUPPORT

SUPPORTING INFORMATION ***********************

Background to proposal: Every 2-3 months SRPD runs a campaign for example in January we ran a gun amnesty to encourage people to hand in/give up their 'illegal, unregistered, unlicensed guns'.The vast majority of gun crimes committed within SRV are being committed by persons who have no lawful right to posses a firearm(ie those under 21 or felons) or by individuals with illegal unregistered guns. The campaign was moderate success and we got 'some' of these guns off the streets.

What we lacked and we believe that it had a negative, detrimental effect on the success of the above campaign was 'visible Official support' in fact the case of the above example we had the Mayor actively working against the campaign. Its an intolerable situation that only makes our jobs more difficult.

The next campaign apr/may/jun is to be a 'Drug awareness program' with the aim of informing as many people as possible the laws about the usage of Marijuana and the legal consequences of being possession of and supplying other drugs.

WHAT WE NEED *************

Proposal from SRPD- Visible support from the Mayor's office for our campaign. Funding towards the ____________________________________________________________________________________________________ expenses that at the moment come out of our rapidly depleting Special Operations Budget. Assistance in __________________________________________________________________________________________________________ reaching as many people as possible with the information, possibly an awareness day or flier drop. ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Key features:

* The Mayor to be seen visibly supporting our campaign. Whether that is via press conferences, turning up for an awareness day, or assisting in flier drops.

* It costs the PD 22.5c per poster produced, that is with 10% discount for being an LE agency. Average run is batches of 40 in case of posters and 300-400 in case of fliers. That is almost $100 just for the printing alone, and that is not even enough for 1 flier for every house in the city.

* It takes PD time to place the posters for these up around the city. And even more time to drop fliers through doors. The employment of an individual to assist with this would be helpful. We unfortunately do not have scope within our budget to do this so at present SRPD Officers are wasting time they could be on the streets putting up posters.

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iii) TRAINING

SUPPORTING INFORMATION ***********************

Background to proposal: At present SRPD has 1 official Training Officer. It is his responsibility to co-ordinate ALL training for new recruits, as we are getting a small trickle of recruits all the time, and as he also is active Officer who is required to be out on the streets, he cannot dedicate the time needed to each new individual joining us. In many cases these individuals are then leaving is in frustration from lack of training and support in their early weeks, or they are going out onto the streets without adequate training and supervision.

I (Lt Brentt) am also a Field Training Officer(FTO), I periodically provide general departmental training, however as Operational Command and deputy Chief when Chief Jade is not on duty, I have precious little time to dedicate to the training of new recruits.

We are also lacking in Special tactics training, such as; Riot training, Tactical training for hostage situations and other training in this nature.

WHAT WE NEED *************

Proposal from SRPD- Funding for and assistance in training of 1 more FTO. Funding for and assistance in _______________________________________________________________________________________________________ recruiting instructors for tactile training or short departmental training courses at other facilities in other ________________________________________________________________________________________________________ towns who have access to these instructors. _____________________________________________

Key features:

* FTO must already been a active and reliable member of SRPD. This means we need more general recruits coming in to swell the field of available Officers to chose from.

* Special tactics Training instructors will need to highly skilled well trained in the tactic themselves and able to instruct and educate others in the usage of these tactics.

* Special tactics Training instructors would not necessarily need to be members of SRPD but they would need to be a member of a PD from somewhere else in the country. We would need funding to pay them for their instruction, find temporary accommodation( probably at Hotel) during their visits or funding to send Officers elsewhere to receive this training, being mindful of the fact that Officers outside of SRV are NOT here to police our streets.

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iv) PUBLIC/COMMUNITY MEETINGS

SUPPORTING INFORMATION *********************** Background to proposal: Strong relationships of mutual trust between police agencies and the communities they serve are critical to maintaining public safety and effective policing.

Police officials rely on the cooperation of community members to provide information about crime in their neighborhoods, and to work with the police to devise solutions to crime and disorder problems. Similarly community members’ willingness to trust the police depends on whether they believe that police actions reflect community values and incorporate the principles of procedural justice and legitimacy.

At present there is a dangerously strong anti-police rhetoric circulating in the town. Areas such as the ghetto in South Side are particularly susceptible to this attitude. It is fact that Officers entering that area on routine police business, are repeatedly threatened, sometimes at gun point. In most of these cases the Officer is simply there to speak to someone, the hostility they face is sufficient that they fear for their own safety and leave the area often without having obtained the information they require, thus some crimes are not getting brought to court through lack of evidence.

Sadly this rhetoric is not just limited to the Ghetto, many Officers are subjected often on a daily basis to violent verbal insults, in most cases simply for being there or stopping to speak with someone. Officers are being subject to actual physical sometimes serious or life threatening assaults simply for doing their jobs.

People are often reluctant to give us information needed to bring crimes to court, preferring to take matters into their own hands, often, either the crime has gone completely unreported to us or more often information is withheld from us that prevents us getting the evidence we need to make arrests and bring people to court, its a viscous circle that perpetuates the rhetoric that the PD are doing nothing about crimes.

SRPD Command believe that we as a department need to do our part in altering the publics attitude towards our Officers, therefore we have decided to hold regular (possibly 6 weekly Public meetings) to address these issues. We want to; Acknowledge and discuss with our communities the challenges we are facing. We have been and intend to show the public that we are being transparent and accountable and we are trying to Promote internal diversity and ensure professional growth opportunities within the department.

WHAT WE NEED *************

Proposal from SRPD- Funding for and assistance in finding venues in which to held these public meetings. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Support with advertising the meeting, strong positive media support. Visible support from the Mayor for ________________________________________________________________________________________________________ these public meetings. _______________________

Key features:

* In order to reach more of the people that we are trying to communicate with we would like to alternate venues between one in the Northside(possibly Upstairs of Hotel Cortez) and a venue in the Southside, we need assistance and funding to find a suitable, safe venue in Southside.

* We would like assistance in setting up suitable media who will be present at the meeting.

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v) RENTAL OF METAL DETECTORS

SUPPORTING INFORMATION ***********************

Due to recent events during the last Mayor campaign, it has been necessary to hire metal detector doorway arch. Since it was a PD decision, to install this and the Courts have very little funding themselves, the PD has to foot the rental cost of this. It is currently costing us $1,418 a month rental.

The PD has a small buffer budget called 'Special Ops Budget' this is normally maintained at around $1,500, used to purchase equipment or hire equipment, personnel from other Police departs needed for surveillance operations or any other extra ordinary operations carried out by the PD in order to make arrests or obtain evidence to use in court.

Our tri-monthly campaigns also come out of this budget. As does any other extraordinary non operational expenditure. We have had to zero our 'Special Ops Budget' in order to pay for the rental of the metal detectors. Which as you can see from above means we have nothing to pay out for purchasing and hire of equipment, personnel from other Police departs needed for surveillance operations. Which means there will be NO surveillance operations carried out at present and the PD is working on reactive information instead of proactive. The lack of surveillance operations means we are being deprive of a valuable source of evidence and criminals are getting away who might otherwise be brought to justice.

The zeroing of this budget also means that we are having to a)divert police resources to fund raising and b) in the event of extraordinary non operational expenses such as during the Storms last year, we have no choice but to divert funding from our operational budget, that means sending Officers out on the streets possibly in life threatening conditions without basic equipment needed.

WHAT WE NEED *************

Proposal from SRPD- Funding for the continued hire of the metal detectors at the doors of City hall. __________________________________________________________________________________________________

Key features:

* It is a criminal offense for unauthorized personnel to bring firearms into any public building. As City Hall constitutes a pubic building, we have to take actions as members of the public seem to be intent of flaunting this rule.

* It is difficult to reach all the public 24/7 to ensure they understand that they are committing an offense by brining firearms into the building. Plus it requires personnel to enforce it 24/7 and paying for staff trained to do that costs a lot more then the hire of the equipment.

* With no 'Special Ops Budget' the lives of Officers and the public are being put in danger during extraordinary situations such as Storms. As the ability to divert this budget provides us with a buffer that means we dont have to take money from the Operational Budget.

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vi) RECRUITMENT OF LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS

SUPPORTING INFORMATION ***********************

SRV as a city is constantly growing, the population is increasing, but business opportunity are diminishing as witnessed by the current number of empty businesses in the city. This creates and environment that breed poverty, the increased likelihood for substance abuse, the need for desperate people to take desperate measures and thus more crime. It takes a special kind of person to be a LEO and months of training to produce good, reliable competent Officers.

With the increase in crime as discussed above is the need for more LEO's to police it. Yet SRPD remains dangerously undermanned. Whilst we have a constant trickle of applicants, some of these will not be suitable, some will find employment with other departments, some we will never hear from again, despite our efforts to contact them and offer them interviews.

Of those actually employed only about 20% remain active Officers after the first 2-3 months. Most become part time occasional Officers we call in when absolutely needed or never turn up for work after initial period. This is in part due to our training issues as discussed earlier, and in part due to our departments ridged accountability rules. This leaves the remaining percentage of active officers under unbearable stress, since the crime needs of the city do not lessen, and are more likely to increase, we are increasingly being expected to do more and more with less and less personnel. Its a very dangerous downward spiral the means the vast majority of our department is overworked(doing way over the hours they should be), exhausted, demoralized and damn right scared of going out and doing their jobs. Tired, demoralized and frightened Officers are jittery, intolerant and dangerous.

More fresh Officers coming in from the bottom will help elevate the issues above, but its not of any use if after all the expense both financially and in terms of operational time, these Officers then leave the department or go on long term sick leave or fail to show up for work.

I have already addressed training and public reputation but if only 20% remain with us that means for every 10 people coming in 2 will stay, we therefore need to increase the number of people coming in, in order to retain more officers, alongside the training issues already discussed. We would like to source more young people to enter the profession rather than transferring in from other departments.

WHAT WE NEED *************

Proposal from SRPD- Funding for recruitment campaigns such as a recruitment day, the sourcing of young people who would potential like to train as Rookies and newspaper, radio advertising in SRV and out of town for people. __________________________________________________________________________________________________

Key features:

* To plan a recruitment day. In order to get as many new recruits in at once as possible. Advertising for this. * Funding for regular adversing for joining the PD

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