Mammoth Police Chief responds to news of cuts to his department

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Mammoth Lakes Police Chief Dan Watson 

Last week, Assistant Town Manager Marianna Marysheva-Martinez finally revealed how Town officials plan to come up with $2 million per year to pay off the big lawsuit debt. Two closely held services topped the proposed list of cuts – 7 police officers and the Whitmore Pool and Park, along with six other town positions.

The Town Council plans to invite the public in to comment on these plans and offer suggestions at their regular meeting Wednesday night. The last item on the somewhat brief agenda says, “discuss the settlement agreement and proposed options for the financing of the settlement.”

When contacted by Sierra Wave Media for his view of the proposed plan to finance the debt, Mammoth Police Chief Dan Watson said, “I’m still analyzing the Council’s restructuring plan that was released last Thursday. My staff and I are trying to determine the impacts of a 46% reduction in sworn strength and a 67% reduction in supervision.”

The Chief said if this plan goes into effect the losses will include the School Resource Officer, MONET task force, and five patrol personnel. Chief Watson said this will mean times during the week when there will be only one police officer on duty. The Chief said, “Being in a remote location without other law enforcement services nearby, I’m concerned about what this will mean for the safety of our residents, visitors, and officers.”

Chief Watson added in his response that “The Town Council has the very difficult challenge of determining how to pay the settlement. The plan that was presented,” he said, “is the beginning of a process and the Council is seeking public input. The plan provides a starting point for discussion and there will likely be changes.” The Chief said he encourages all residents to become familiar with the plan and then offer their opinions on priorities by speaking at future meetings or by forwarding their thoughts via email to Town Clerk Jamie Gray. That email is [email protected]

The Town’s plan includes no cuts for housing, tourism, and transit.

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Trouble
Trouble
10 years ago

Maybe if our legal system wasn’t so gun-ho for so long now, they would have more support when they need it.

Really
Really
10 years ago

I agree with the gentleman’s above comments that this town is not looking at the big picture. Years ago we had the Sheriff’s department at that time the population was about 3,000. This town now has over 7,000 permanent residents not including busy weekends that can bring over 40,000 tourists.… Read more »

Employee associations - fine its still the cost
Employee associations - fine its still the cost
10 years ago

It doesn’t matter if its an employee association, a union or just being generous the fact remains that high paying jobs in Mammoth are no longer in the private sector. There is no longer a balance between tax-eaters and tax-payers. Didn’t Karen Johnston get fired because it was too expensive… Read more »

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
10 years ago

FYI – the Police Chief makes $183,574 plus benefits, according to the Assistant Town Manager.
Benett

Devout Liberal
Devout Liberal
10 years ago
Reply to  Benett Kessler

Benett,

How much are the “total” benifits for the Chief?

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
10 years ago
Reply to  Devout Liberal

Not sure. Marianna Marysheva-Martinez said the PERS contribution is out of Town control. Previously, I used to calculate benefits as 30% of base pay. It’s probably more than that now.
Benett

Mark
Mark
10 years ago
Reply to  Benett Kessler

Pretty sweet deal for the Chief. Bet he absolutely loves living in Mono County too. Who wouldn’t?

Elected officials
Elected officials
10 years ago
Reply to  Benett Kessler

Bennett, Let us not forget who Marianna’s bosses are. Our elected officials. Why should she bite the hands that have been feeding her (and quite generously, might I add) and make her bosses look like fools for paying everybody quite well. Some say too much. She works for our elected… Read more »

Willie Nelson
Willie Nelson
10 years ago
Reply to  Benett Kessler

Mommas, don’t let your babies grow up to be ski bums.
Make ’em be doctors and police chiefs and such.

Small town Girl
Small town Girl
10 years ago

I worry about less cops in Mammoth, not because I think we need more enforcment at our local bars, or more cops hasseling people for DUI;s. I worry about what happens to us if there is no one there to protect us when we need them I worry about rapes… Read more »

Its the union that we cannot afford!
Its the union that we cannot afford!
10 years ago

We can afford all the police, and town staff that we need, its the union costs that we cannot afford. If we hired a new non-union staff including new police and paid them the mean wage in Mono county the savings would be far greater then firing 13 people.

Mammothite
Mammothite
10 years ago

What union are you talking about? Employees do not belong to a union. They have formed their own employee associations. Their retirement is through CalPers not a union.

MJA
MJA
10 years ago

That’s 40,000 dollars a week for 23 years!
Hey can I build a condo at the airport next?

=

Jeremiah's Alter Ego
Jeremiah's Alter Ego
10 years ago

Our system is rigged!! You make a bed you fill a bed. That is the prison and jail theme. There is a elite few that profit from imprisoning our people for ridiculous reasons. We do need Police and law enforcement, not to the point they nit pick any violation just… Read more »

Steve St. Louis
Steve St. Louis
10 years ago

I’ve stayed away from expressing my feelings on this site for awhile now, but I think that butchering our fine Police dept is a horrible solution. You need a Police Dept of the size we have, because of the amount of people who now reside here in town. And I’m… Read more »

JeanGenie
JeanGenie
10 years ago

Steve SL, Since when do you need a gun in Mammoth, thats just silly.

Steve St. Louis
Steve St. Louis
10 years ago
Reply to  JeanGenie

Hopefully no time soon. Really!

Wayne Deja
Wayne Deja
10 years ago

Steve St.Louis…..In a lot of cases,and with a lot of people,that is exactally how they would like it up there….feeling they would be fine,not only with a smaller police force and presents,but,preferably,no police force at all….to do and go as they please 24/7…the only difference from the old west days… Read more »

Big AL
Big AL
10 years ago

I agree with a lof of what you say Steve, and the feelings you have. but I have to say, the comment about most of the people in Mammoth being young drunked up drugged up junkies, that’s stretchin it, i get the message there but the number there is not… Read more »

kaat
kaat
10 years ago

“The decision makers live in nice plush areas of the town, and I would bet a pay check, that they all have a gun handy even in those nice neighborhoods.” Steve- the “plush areas of town” will most likely be the target of robberies, not people in the Sierra Valley… Read more »

C.Hansen
C.Hansen
10 years ago

There have been numerious comments on both this blog and “Mammoth TC talks cuts of Police Dept, Whitmore Pool and More.” I would suggest that everyone in the community attend tomorrows council meeting in Suite Z to show your concern about the future of Mammoth Lakes. Even if you feel… Read more »

Sean F
Sean F
10 years ago

As a former cop I can tell you when a bar fight breaks out in the Village the last thing Mammoth will want is deputies who live out of the area coming in and kicking ass. They will bust heads and not give a crap. All the Mammoth hippies will… Read more »

Mark
Mark
10 years ago
Reply to  Sean F

We the tax payer haven’t got WHAT WE PAY FOR in a long long time. I still gave you post a thumbs up.

JeanGenie
JeanGenie
10 years ago
Reply to  Sean F

Sean F This hippie won’t give a damn cause I won’t be hanging out at the bar when a fight breaks out. And, back in the day, there was no MLPD or “Town of Mammoth” yet there was a ton of tourists on weekends and holidays, and very few problems.… Read more »

Sean F
Sean F
10 years ago
Reply to  JeanGenie

Just for the record I like hippies, hippie music and I even voted for Obama (and will again). Go hippies!

steve
steve
10 years ago

I think the best way to resolve this issue is to make a salary reduction across the board. Share sacrifice since this is a “community” and everyone should share the pain.

MJA
MJA
10 years ago

The town wants to get rid of the police and the pool and who knows what else so they can pay Ballas one hundred sixty thousand dollars a month for the next twenty three years. What exactly did the town do to this guy that would deserve even a small… Read more »

MeadowGal
MeadowGal
10 years ago

Maybe Assistant Town Manager Marianna Marysheva-Martinez could resign, thereby freeing up more than enough money to operate Whitmore pool each year.

Trouble
Trouble
10 years ago

I haven’t heard anyone complaining about the pool and park closure. How much would closing it really save?

Anita
Anita
10 years ago
Reply to  Trouble

I don’t think it will save nearly enough money to make a difference.

MeadowGal
MeadowGal
10 years ago
Reply to  Trouble

It costs approximately $200,000 per year to operate the pool/park complex. Half of that money comes from the County, half from TOML.

Greg
Greg
10 years ago

Mammoth gives mono county a very large share of sales taxes. Maybe the sheriff should take over the town and eliminate the mammoth pd altogether.

Trouble
Trouble
10 years ago
Reply to  Greg

Benett- I saw a list of crimes reported in Mammoth a while back. What can I look that up under?

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
10 years ago
Reply to  Trouble

Not sure what you’re talking about, but you can type in a key word on our search bar on the top right.
BK

Big Rick OB
Big Rick OB
10 years ago
Reply to  Greg

Greg,do you REALLY want the ” good ol’ boys ” running amok in TOML ? The “us against them attitude” that is prevalent in the Sheriff’s Dept. won’t fly in Mammoth.

Mark
Mark
10 years ago
Reply to  Big Rick OB

Good ol’ boys or Clown Council. Pick the lessor of the two evils, just like we vote for POTUS.

Mammothite
Mammothite
10 years ago
Reply to  Big Rick OB

Big Rick, I am very impressed with your knowledge of what is really going on. Your commens are spot on!

Ken Warner
Ken Warner
10 years ago

I sent the following to Town Clerk Jamie Gray. “Assistant Town Manager Martinez said there would be no cuts to Tourism, Housing and Transit.” Public safety is the first priority. Tourism, Housing and Transit should be funded if and only if there is money left after FULLY funding any and… Read more »

Trouble
Trouble
10 years ago
Reply to  Ken Warner

Ken- if you were talking about the fire dept. and paramedics I would agree with you more on the public safety issues. I’m really debating the benitfits the police bring to the town over the sheriffs. It sounds to me like Mammoth and Bishop are paying for both , but… Read more »

Well alrighty then
Well alrighty then
10 years ago
Reply to  Ken Warner

Hit the ole nail on the head Ken. Without an effective force, it is just gonna be all sorts of bad.

upthecreek
upthecreek
10 years ago

Sounds like the TC is just building its case for MORE taxes …They threaten cutting police/Fire and infrastructure and settle with New Taxes. Get ready Mammoth After all the Sheeple love paying new taxes. The system is Rigged. Hawaiian shirts and expensive cigars and Pensions for everyone.. Life is Great… Read more »

Mammothite
Mammothite
10 years ago
Reply to  upthecreek

Upthecreek, I think you are partially right. In order for council members to get elected, council members make a lot of promises to a lot of people. They have all made these back door promises tonet cut pet programs such as Arts, Transportation, Housing, Parks & Rec, Marketing etc. This… Read more »

johndoeml
johndoeml
10 years ago
Reply to  Mammothite

Agree. And Whitmore Pool is recreation and probably will receive recreation funds. In the end very little will change.

Too many cops
Too many cops
10 years ago

There is no reason to be so top-heavy in policemen. All you need is a couple of cops hanging around at last call at the bars in tourist towns.

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
10 years ago
Reply to  Too many cops

From covering the news in Mammoth Lakes since 1979, we can says there are many other needs for police besides dealing with drunks.
Benett Kessler

Rural vs. Metropolis
Rural vs. Metropolis
10 years ago
Reply to  Benett Kessler

But why so many, Benett?
Mammoth ain’t no L.A.

Tim
Tim
10 years ago

One of the problems with staffing for law enforcement is that when you need the cops, you never have enough and when it is slow, you always have too many. One aspect that the Chief stated was that there would only be one officer on duty at various times. This… Read more »

Steve Swisher
Steve Swisher
10 years ago

It’s not just bar fights? People with significant mental illness end up at Mammoth Hospital, as do people injured in fights and belligerent drunks. Potentially violent patients are sometimes admitted to the inpatient medical service. MLPD has always responded quickly to the hospital. What will happen if there’s only one… Read more »

Ed Cesnalis
Ed Cesnalis
10 years ago
Reply to  Steve Swisher

Steve,

Most people that I know drive hundreds of miles for medical treatment because the fees are already too high at Mammoth Hospital. You are asking these same people to pay more in taxes to provide police security for a hospital that they cannot afford anyway.

CAt
CAt
10 years ago
Reply to  Steve Swisher

Hire a security guard.

Big Rick OB
Big Rick OB
10 years ago

Cut 7 cops from the force and it won’t take long before it IS L.A.

Jeff B.
Jeff B.
10 years ago

Mammoth is LA on the weekends and holidays. Apres ski leads to excessive drinking, drugs, fights, etc. And LA or not, Mammoth like any other town has assaults, burglaries, thefts, and worse. And though the rates are lower than elsewhere, it may well be because of the police coverage. According… Read more »

Anita
Anita
10 years ago
Reply to  Too many cops

Respectfully, “Too”–I do not believe you know what you are talking about.