With $1.1 million less, Mammoth police realities

MLPD 3-23-10At some point, the Town of Mammoth Lakes will no longer enjoy non-stop police coverage. Mammoth Police Chief Dan Watson laid out his plan in response to the Town Council demand that he cut seven officers. The Council most recently described their desire as a $1.1 million cut in the police department with service maintained.

When Chief Watson spoke at the January 2nd Town Council meeting, he pointed out that the only thing that could be cut to realize a $1.1 million savings is personnel which makes up about 75% of the department budget. The only thing that could change this scenario, he said, is the Police Officers Association agreement to take more salary cuts. This, on top of a 16% wage cut officers agreed to take six months ago.

Chief Watson said he has already withdrawn from the Mono Narcotics Enforcement Team and has cut the School Resource Officer to part-time. In the wake of discouraging news about the police department, one sergeant and three officers have either retired or gone to another department. Still others are being processed for jobs elsewhere. By July, the Chief said, the wished for seven positions will be gone.

Currently, 17 sworn officers maintain coverage of two people at all times and four at night in Mammoth. Under the new cuts, the Chief recommended two ten-hour shifts from 7am to 3am with no one on duty from 3am to 7am. To respond to major incidents during that time, the Chief said they need on-call officers. Chief Watson said, “We will not respond to incidents in the middle of the night that don’t involve public safety.”

Police will not respond to vandalism, loud parties and misdemeanor crimes. They will respond to major traffic accidents, DUI accidents and domestic violence. He said they will curtail the foot beat in the Village, cancelled the DARE program in addition to a limited School Resource Officer and no narcotics enforcement task force involvement. Police will not respond to second alarm or burglar alarm calls, said the Chief. They will limit their assistance to fire and paramedic calls.

Police used to drive drunks home when they could and help people out of snow banks. That will not happen as often. Chief Watson said it will take officers a longer time to respond to non-emergencies. The Chief made it clear he has worked to reduce negative impacts on the public with his limited budget. He has spoken with heads of other law enforcement in the region. They can not fill in for Mammoth’s lack of officers but will continue with some mutual aid.

Chief Watson also made it clear that a reserve program will be very limited – most likely to retired law enforcement. He said retired Mammoth Police Sergeant Karen Smart will act as a reserve and will head up a volunteer program which will not offset regular officers.

The Chief did say that if Mammoth switched dispatch services from Mono County to the Bishop Police Department, the Town could save as much as $100,000 per year.

Mayor Pro Tem Rick Wood, who had criticized the police officers for publicly objecting to the Town Council cuts, said he was happy the Chief “stepped up to meet the challenge presented.” He said a number of people “feel your department was picked on.” Wood admitted that there would be a different level of service. He said he believes the officers who have stayed are “committed.”

The Council accepted the Chief’s recommended service plan. They agreed that any savings this fiscal year will go to next fiscal year’s police budget and then any salary savings would pay for on-call officers.

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checkitout
checkitout
9 years ago

Everyone is forgetting the fact that MMM is giving the Council the information about who and what to cut. If you want to see where she gets her ruthless ideas take a look at her husband’s history. Go on the internet and find Nabar Enrique Martinez. It sounds as though… Read more »

Nice work if you can get it
Nice work if you can get it
9 years ago
Reply to  checkitout

MMM does power-point presentations filled with graphs, figures, more figures, more graphs, … etc. that when her presentation is over, whenever she asks: “Any questions?” she never has any questions from the confused-looking elected officials. Never. Like the slight-of-hand magician she gets an astronomical salary, free housing, free transportation, and… Read more »

Desert Tortoise
Desert Tortoise
9 years ago

Big Al, contrary to what you say, the US Constitution has been amended a total of 27 times, 17 of these Amendments coming after the Constitution was ratified. If enough of the citizens of the US dedmand a change or even a repeal of the 2nd Amendment, there is a… Read more »

Ken Warner
Ken Warner
9 years ago

Gun owners always point to the 2’nd Amendment to justify their gun ownership. If the 2’nd Amendment was repealed, the gun owners would say, “…the activist judges…” are destroying America and say, “See, I told you so. Obama is trying to take our guns.” Gun ownership has long been more… Read more »

erik simpson
erik simpson
9 years ago
Reply to  Ken Warner

I wonder how many of the other amendments to the Constitution are more matters of religion than ‘legal expression of individual liberties’?

My cold, dead hands
My cold, dead hands
9 years ago
Reply to  Ken Warner

What kind of maniac would insist on owning a machine gun?

Trouble
Trouble
9 years ago

This “maniac” would love to have the right to own a machine gun. To bad we won’t be able to buy any bullets for them soon. Switzerland arms and trains all their people with them. Israel ought arm and train all their people with one also. It’s to late for… Read more »

Jeremiah's Alter Ego
Jeremiah's Alter Ego
9 years ago
Reply to  Ken Warner

If those that don’t think government or majority rules vote shouldn’t be able to take their 2nd amendment rights away? Why should we let those people who agree with how the 2nd amendment is now interpreted be given the ability to take away others most precious right in the most… Read more »

Ken Warner
Ken Warner
9 years ago

This is the kind of information our town government doesn’t want you to know. Look for the simple bar charts that show tax revenues toward the end of the document:

http://pancyl.com/GeneralFundTaxInformation.pdf

The town is now hiding this kind of information from you.

Big AL
Big AL
9 years ago
Reply to  Ken Warner

They are our representatives, not our masters.

Ken Warner
Ken Warner
9 years ago

There are a lot of people concerned and angry about the cuts to the P.D. The Town Clowncil know this concern and anger and will use it to justify a new tax levy of some kind. In the mean time. All the wasteful programs like Tourism and airport subsidies will… Read more »

Big AL
Big AL
9 years ago
Reply to  Ken Warner

Those are money makers Ken, butter for the bread.

Sean F
Sean F
9 years ago

One last thought – Sir Robert Peel (an English guy born in 1788) is considered the father of modern policing principles. Google him and read some of his quotes. Moving stuff and it still applies today. This topic (Police Cuts) reminds me of this quote from good ol Sir Robert:… Read more »

Nancy Backerman
Nancy Backerman
9 years ago

Bennett, why should we quit talking about it now. A lot of people are incredibly upset about this turn of events with our police department and they need to vocalize what they think, over and over again until…maybe….someone hears us, even if it doesn’t invoke change and even if you… Read more »

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
9 years ago

Make up your mind. You first said don’t publicize the facts about police service. Now, you want to. Fine with me. I’m into the First Amendment.
Benett Kessler

Nancy Backerman
Nancy Backerman
9 years ago
Reply to  Benett Kessler

I’m not conflicted at all. It’s already been publicized therefore I’m expressing my opinion on that. If it hadn’t been put out there in the media then I wouldn’t be so adamant about what I see as the negative impact of doing so.

Seriously?
Seriously?
9 years ago

Benett…informing or advertising,…it is the same thing. Maybe decipher what is put out there…i.e.: “Police Chief is making necessary cuts to meet the Town Council’s desired $1.1 Million demand.” “Informing” the public of the times, and types of law enforcement requests which will be denied is asinine. This runs along… Read more »

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
9 years ago
Reply to  Seriously?

I sure would want to know what law enforcement could and could not do in my town. But, we can definitely quit talking about it now.
Benett Kessler

Sean F
Sean F
9 years ago
Reply to  Benett Kessler

There should be no criticism for reporting this info. The people of Mammoth SHOULD know when help will arrive quickly and when it won’t. For example – If a guy is beating a girl in the street at 4 PM you might expected cops to arrive in under a minute… Read more »

Ken Warner
Ken Warner
9 years ago
Reply to  Seriously?

So blame Benett for letting people know what the town council is doing to destroy public safety?

Big AL
Big AL
9 years ago
Reply to  Ken Warner

NO she’s not to blame .. I hear ya Ken … some people just don’t see it.

Trouble
Trouble
9 years ago

Whens the last time the Mammoth police stopped a major crime in the process?

Reality Check
Reality Check
9 years ago
Reply to  Trouble

Trouble, once again you try and take something complex and attempt to make it simple, which it is not. How do you measure what crimes are prevented by officers being visable out on patrol in the wee hours of the morning and making contacts with suspicious persons and vehicles that… Read more »

Trouble
Trouble
9 years ago
Reply to  Reality Check

Reality Check- the truth is simple to see. Our country has played on our peoples fears to take away more and more of our freedoms and civil rights in the name of public safety for to many years now. I don’t like police hiding in the bushes to hand out… Read more »

andrew
andrew
9 years ago

Cowboy up. My god how did we ever survive this long. If something happens between those hours, then it will be dealt with accordingly.

Mammothite
Mammothite
9 years ago
Reply to  andrew

Andrew, how will it be dealt with when no one is on duty and the cop on call is responding from Bishop????

sierragrl
sierragrl
9 years ago

I like the Chief’s plan. DARE program has been a waste of money for years, as is the SRO…No presence from 3 am to 7 am most likely is the least harm. I’m curious, and I imagine KSRW could find out, what types and amounts of calls have come in… Read more »

Big AL
Big AL
9 years ago
Reply to  sierragrl

Power .. Sierragrl, and trying to get the most dollars for the businesses .. not the town.

Ken Warner
Ken Warner
9 years ago
Reply to  sierragrl

Well, dream on about good snow years saving our bacon. The best year we’ve ever had WRT: sales tax; property tax and TOT was in 2005 — and we’ve had record snow years between ’05 and now. Sales tax; property tax; and TOT have trended down since ’05. In fact,… Read more »

Waxlips
Waxlips
9 years ago

This has got to be the most stupidest thing a group of supposedly intelligent people could come with! OMG!! So you have a town such as Mammoth Lakes with lots of snow and sitting on top of a volcano, crammed with touristy flatlanders and only one way out of town… Read more »

Big AL
Big AL
9 years ago
Reply to  Waxlips

I don’t think it is the horrible zombie fest you are painting waxi .. but it will be challenging.

sierragrl
sierragrl
9 years ago
Reply to  Waxlips

yes, the volcano remark is very relevant….sheesh…..and by the way, the ‘escape’ route has been kept open year round for 20 years now…perhaps you should get out a bit more

Mammothite
Mammothite
9 years ago

It is doubtful that retired officers approaching or in their 60s would be interested in fighting with 20 something drunks in icy conditions, and risk serious injury. You don’t bounce back like you did in your 30s or 40s. They might be useful working in the office or doing detective… Read more »

Big AL
Big AL
9 years ago

No, I don’t think it is advertising, it is just the chief telling everyone he has made the changes he has had to make as per having the proverbial gun to his head by the TC. He’s making it clear what has been chopped and cut back, so everyone knows… Read more »

ferdinand lopez
ferdinand lopez
9 years ago

they are advertising exactly when and which crimes can now easily be commited

Nancy Backerman
Nancy Backerman
9 years ago

guess I’m not the only one who sees it as “advertising” when crimes can be committed with no consequences.

ferdinand lopez
ferdinand lopez
9 years ago

arm yourselves,report all criminal activities,its not hard to pinpoint drug dealers,you want a safer mammoth,help the p.d. to help you

Sean F
Sean F
9 years ago

Reserves aren’t going to put in lots of hours for free. Once they are trained you might get them to work 8 hrs a week at best. If they have day jobs and families you will be lucky to get two shifts out of them a month. And I really… Read more »

Anita
Anita
9 years ago
Reply to  Sean F

Insightful comment, I think. If something goes really wrong here in the wee hours of the morning, the response time could be too long to do any good.

Doobie Mammoth
Doobie Mammoth
9 years ago
Reply to  Anita

If something goes wrong when no cops are working, they should call Rick Wood’s house!

J.J.
J.J.
9 years ago
Reply to  Doobie Mammoth

I suggest we advertise the home’ addresses of the town council that voted to put us in this position. The town leaders / managers that came up with this scheme to cut payroll, other than themselves/marketing or air subsidies. These cuts are covering the cost of the most recent of… Read more »

Roy
Roy
9 years ago

I really dread what will happen when a major violent felony occurs at 0400 or 0500 in the morning, knowing that a police response could be quite lengthy. A burglar committing a crime at o dark thirty in the morning could be miles from the scene before any police could… Read more »

Trouble
Trouble
9 years ago
Reply to  Roy

Roy- you have less police, not none. Get six volunteer reserves and you’ll have more than ever. You’ll be o.k..

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
9 years ago
Reply to  Trouble

According to the Police Chief, they would need Level 1 reserves which are not currently available in any big numbers.
BK

Reality Check
Reality Check
9 years ago
Reply to  Trouble

Trouble, in order for a Reserve Officer to respond alone to a call alone without a full time Officer in the car with him, he would have to take 9 months to 12 months off of work to get the training to legaly do so. All this for a volunteer… Read more »

Leslie
Leslie
9 years ago
Reply to  Reality Check

I have the answer “buy a gun”. Then have the media report to the public who carries and who doesnt and where they live. Isnt that the answer these days?

Civics in America
Civics in America
9 years ago
Reply to  Leslie

The argument we are hearing re: gun ownership is cleverly and politically skewed. Nobody is against the ownership of guns per se. Guns are part of our culture and used for hunting, protection, etc. The problem is: Why would anybody in their right mind (no pun intended) cry that their… Read more »

Roy
Roy
9 years ago
Reply to  Trouble

I trained reserve Deputies for LA County Sheriff’s Dept…. It takes a long time and lots of training before one becomes a level 1 reserve…and are able to work by them selves…

Ken Warner
Ken Warner
9 years ago
Reply to  Trouble

Getting people to do for free what highly trained and skilled professionals used to do for a good salary is the wet-dream of corporatists everywhere.

No offence Trouble but if there are people willing to work for free — why does anybody have a job?

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
9 years ago
Reply to  Ken Warner

I will note that Chief Watson told the Town Council that they would have to pay for reserves, particularly because Bishop and Inyo County
pay theirs.
BK

Big AL
Big AL
9 years ago
Reply to  Benett Kessler

Benett I am basing it on the gun laws that we will soon have to live with. With more to come once they get that level, it will set Presidence for future tighter gun laws, they will not quit with semi automatic weapons. I agree there has to be some… Read more »

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
9 years ago
Reply to  Big AL

I agree with you on the mental health and heart issues. You are so right. Who we are and how we live does have an impact on all of society. As for the gun issue, I too believe in the Second Amendment. The tragedy in Connecticut, however, does rightfully cause… Read more »

Trouble
Trouble
9 years ago
Reply to  Ken Warner

Ken- I kind of agree with you when it comes to working class people getting screwed out of good paying jobs. For that I do feel bad for the officers and their families. But, I have grown tired of how aggressive our police and laws have become . Personally I… Read more »

Ken Warner
Ken Warner
9 years ago
Reply to  Trouble

I wasn’t aware of that. Over zealous police are not generally good for the community. It seems to vary over time and place. I’ve lived in towns where police were over zealous and it’s really not good. I don’t have any first hand knowledge of that being the case here… Read more »

Trouble
Trouble
9 years ago
Reply to  Trouble

I meant to say our country (not county) incarcerates, more people than any other country in the world. That is sad and I believe some proof that we do live in a self created police state. And God forbid someone for trying to help someone get off drugs rather than… Read more »

Big AL
Big AL
9 years ago
Reply to  Trouble

I hear what you’re saying Trouble .. I agree with you on your basic issue, over zealous individuals in law enforcement, yes that is something I have tried to express here I know some think I am bashing police all together but I’m not. I speak out about the ones… Read more »

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
9 years ago
Reply to  Big AL

Are you saying that the President plans to confiscate all of our weapons? If so, what are you basing this on?
Benett

Wayne Deja
Wayne Deja
9 years ago
Reply to  Trouble

Do you REALLY think Inyo or Mono County incarcerates more people than Los Angeles County..Or San Bernardino County ?..Whoever you heard that from,I’d ask to see where they get their information.

Wayne Deja
Wayne Deja
9 years ago
Reply to  Trouble

…Be careful what you ask for…..You could be asking for 6 volunteer officers,and be getting 6 George Zimmerman’s…..

Big Rick OBrien
Big Rick OBrien
9 years ago
Reply to  Wayne Deja

That’s EXACTLY why it takes about 6 months or more to do a thorough background check ,Wayne. So you DON’T end up with any Zimmerman’s. BTW, the Chief stated that the reserves would be limited to retired cops, no newbies.

Sean F
Sean F
9 years ago

I WAS a Reserve Deputy for 3+ years in the early 90’s. We were only allowed to work the streets as a second officer pared with a full time officer. During big events two Reserve could work on car or do a foot patrol together. After becoming a full time… Read more »

2nd Amendment nonsense
2nd Amendment nonsense
9 years ago
Reply to  Wayne Deja

Big Al, Nobody wants to take all the guns away from everyone. It’s the AK-47 assault rifles (that kill grade school children) that’s the problem. The Tea Party people are at the bottom of this “bye-bye 2nd Amendment” nonsense. Here’s a little humor for you from the brilliant satirists at… Read more »

Knock off the control BS
Knock off the control BS
9 years ago

NRA president Wayne LaPierre who says the senseless murder of 20 first-graders and six educators by a mentally unstable gunman with an assault rifle, should have blown over by now. Noting that the massacre was “almost a month ago” and that all of the victims had been laid to rest,… Read more »

Mr. NRA
Mr. NRA
9 years ago

The Senator Feinstein would love to ban all guns… Here is an article from two days ago. http://www.forbes.com/sites/larrybell/2013/01/06/senator-feinsteins-all-out-assault-on-gun-rights/
So you may think that the 2nd Amendment is nonsense, that is typical response from a liberal drinking the koolaid.

The Wacky Right Problem
The Wacky Right Problem
9 years ago

The mainstream GOP has determined that if it ever wants to win another election in the future, it must distance itself totally from the Rabid Right teaparty crazies.

You know them by their wacky “God wants us to have AK-47s! – it’s the American Way!” BS.

Big AL
Big AL
9 years ago

No I totally understand it .. and yes there are those who want to take all guns away, I do understand .. assault weapons and the need to regulate them. And it isn’t just school children, it has been a number of people of all ages, these sort of tragedies… Read more »

Big AL
Big AL
9 years ago

I think the NRA is one of the strongest points we have to preserve the second amendment and to preserve the constitution as well. They blow it out their butts at times .. but they are helping us keep free. I think what Wayne is trying to say, is ..… Read more »

Marilyn
Marilyn
9 years ago

It’s informing the public about what not to even bother making a call about. Hope it doesn’t cause civilian confrontations that could be dangerous. If someone trys to stop a vandal or other “misdemeanor” miscreant near their domicile and a fight ensues does that constitute domestic violence?

Nancy Backerman
Nancy Backerman
9 years ago
Reply to  Marilyn

why so many dislikes on this one – don’t you like hearing the truth, it’s not pretty but it’s our new reality.

Doobie Mammoth
Doobie Mammoth
9 years ago

Nancy, do you somehow think that the word will not get out that the cops are not working after 3:00 AM?

I want some of what you are smoking!

Nancy Backerman
Nancy Backerman
9 years ago
Reply to  Doobie Mammoth

no, that’s exactly what I think – the word will get out that there aren’t any police on duty between 3A and 7A and that’s when more problems will start happening.

Nes Lessman
Nes Lessman
9 years ago

Drive drunks home??? Maybe to their NEW home in Bridgeport!

Nancy Backerman
Nancy Backerman
9 years ago

Why are we advertising there will be no police on duty between 3A and 7A, limited or no response to vandalism, loud parties and various misdemeanor crimes. Isn’t that just inviting would be criminals to act during those hours knowing they won’t get caught.

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
9 years ago

It’s not advertising. It’s informing the public about what taxpayer-supported services they now have.
Benett Kessler

Nancy Backerman
Nancy Backerman
9 years ago
Reply to  Benett Kessler

And what services they no longer have. OK, don’t call it “advertising”, that’s just semantics. But not only are you “informing” the taxpayers but you’re also “informing” would be criminals of what their window of opportunity is to commit a crime without any threat of serious consequences if there are… Read more »

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
9 years ago

You seem conflicted. You don’t want people to hear this but you do!
BK

Nancy Backerman
Nancy Backerman
9 years ago
Reply to  Benett Kessler

It’s already been publicized, so that’s not going to change – I’m just voicing my opinion.

Ken Warner
Ken Warner
9 years ago

“He [Wood] said a number of people “feel your department was picked on.”

With over a million dollars cut from the P.D. budget and not a single dollar cut from the Tourism or Airport budget, it’s hard to figure out why people think the P.D. has been singled out.