Police Chief revises services in face of major cuts

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Mammoth Lakes Police Chief Dan Watson 

Next month, Mammoth Police Chief Dan Watson will likely go to the Town Council to explain service cutbacks and revised shift schedules as a result of expected cuts in police officer positions. With no final determination yet, the Chief does expect the elimination of some police services – footbeats in the Village, investigations of property damage in traffic wrecks, delayed response times and periods when no police will be on duty.

As Mammoth Police Officers, discouraged by the plan to severely reduce their numbers, look for other jobs, things will change for law enforcement in Mammoth Lakes – even before the Town Council cuts take effect next July. Mammoth Police Chief Dan Watson said three officers are retiring and two are leaving for other departments by December 31. One may remain on contract for six months.

The Chief said, “In addition to these, at least five other officers are processing for jobs with other law enforcement agencies.” Chief Watson, diplomatic but candid in his public comments about the demise of nearly half his department, said the Town Council will make “their difficult, final decisions on the reorganization plan and how to pay the $2 million per year settlement at the next meeting on December 5.”  The Chief believes the Council will stick with the plan to cut seven sworn positions, leaving the Mammoth Lakes Police Department with ten officers.

Chief Watson said he will go to the Town Council, probably in December, with a report that will explain the service cutbacks and revised shift schedule that he will implement sometime before July 1. The Chief is clear to say that there have been no final determinations in what service reductions will be implemented, but he is also clear that police will no longer do some of the things they have historically – footbeats in the Village, investigations of property damage, delayed response to some types of calls or no response for some minor incidents. He says there will likely be periods when “there will be no one on duty and officers will be on call for major events.”

Chief Watson said he will meet with the Bishop Police Chief and Sheriffs of Mono and Inyo Counties to “work out arrangements to hire their personnel on an overtime basis for dates when we need more officers than we have available.” The Chief said none of this has been finalized. Considering government finances, it is unknown if the other departments have the capacity to grant the Chief’s request.

Chief Watson said, “Whatever the outcome, we will make every effort to see that service reductions are minimized for the least impact on residents and visitors. These changes,” he said, “will be phased in as personnel depart and I do not have a timeline at this time.”

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ferdinand lopez
ferdinand lopez
9 years ago

come on people,the town council represents the business owners of mammoth lakes,they have only one thing on their minds,mo money,they dont give a crap about the average citizen living and working in town,its no different then our current government,we have no control or say and the leaders have completely lost… Read more »

Throw the bums out
Throw the bums out
9 years ago

It’s time to start a recall petition.

MJA
MJA
9 years ago

Cut the payment plan to Ballas and his friends and leave the community services alone.
Rights right.

=

Rob
Rob
9 years ago

Chief Watson is undoubtably a highly qualified, highly experienced, highly effective law enforcement executive. But the fact remains the same, TOML cannot afford to pay urban So Cal or Nor Cal rates, especially $130k in bennies. Lets be real people.

Big AL
Big AL
9 years ago
Reply to  Rob

They could afford it Rob, if they got some better town managers in there .. maybe the people should vote the present board out and start over with much lower cost members, who can make some more sound decisions … and heed what the town citizens say.

ferdinand lopez
ferdinand lopez
9 years ago

i just saw in the news that national birthrate is down because illegal immegrants are not getting as much state funds as before,what kind of future is this country in for?

concerned
concerned
9 years ago

As the old saying goes” you reap what you sow”. When Mammoth citizens and Town Council have serious crimes and emergencies, the Police force won’t be sufficient enough to solve all the problems. A year from now, they will likely be ammending the budget to include the hire of several… Read more »

Sheriff Scholl
Sheriff Scholl
9 years ago

Unfortunately, there are too many un-informed people that respond to these blogs so I have decided to try and educate those that care to know the facts. I normally will not respond to blogs as most people don’t have the guts to identify themselves and can have their ideas and… Read more »

Bye-bye qualified people
Bye-bye qualified people
9 years ago
Reply to  Sheriff Scholl

As Sheriff Scholl notes, the high cost of living in Mammoth prohibits a lot of qualified individuals to live here.
And now we have elected officials (Supervisor Johnston, councilmen Lehman and Raimondo) who want nothing more than to further reduce salaries and expenses to those who are qualified.

Big Rick OBrien
Big Rick OBrien
9 years ago
Reply to  Sheriff Scholl

With all due respect Sheriff, you’re only gonna be around for less than 3 more weeks.
Then again, maybe you should delay your retirement , stick around & see how this thing plays out.

Big AL
Big AL
9 years ago
Reply to  Sheriff Scholl

The town is losing some good people with experience, it will be tough to replace them when this all settles out, when as another poster says .. they decide to ramp up staffing.

Be the first on your block
Be the first on your block
9 years ago
Reply to  Big AL

Why not be the one to initiate a recall petition, Big Al?

Let the recall commence
Let the recall commence
9 years ago

Bacon and Raimondo didn’t even have to campaign to get elected to their power-positions. Until the citizens of Mammoth and Mono County can step up to the plate and put things in order, or move to recall the miscreants doling out huge salaries for their pals – the corruption in… Read more »

Big AL
Big AL
9 years ago

I would if it was my town. I don’t have a problem with it, is it your town?

SPAZ
SPAZ
9 years ago
Reply to  Sheriff Scholl

In 1986 we had about 58 liquor licenses in Mono County. Today we have about 85. If most your problems come from from the drinking public, cut the number of licenses or enact a “sin” tax. Make the ones who cause the problems pay for them. If you put a… Read more »

Big AL
Big AL
9 years ago
Reply to  SPAZ

What has the tax on tobacco products done to bring down the crime rate and end smoking addictions.

elsinoreracer
elsinoreracer
9 years ago
Reply to  Sheriff Scholl

Thanks for this response. I remember those days fondly.

Sour grapes
Sour grapes
9 years ago

As the economy tightens (and you can be sure it will) those who were paying attention, saw bad times coming, got a good education, live and spend intelligently within their means, will get hurt the least. The others will find their way onto bitching sessions like these whining about everything… Read more »

MJA
MJA
9 years ago

Two million a year for 25 years for absolutely nothing.
Leave the police alone and don’t give Ballas a dime.

The court got it wrong and its time for Mammoth to get it right!

=

Bemused
Bemused
9 years ago
Reply to  MJA

MJA, we can only assume at this point that you are clinically delusional. Please get some help…and spare us all your broken-record nonsensical postings in the meantime.

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
9 years ago
Reply to  Bemused

Yes. The settlement is signed. The bankruptcy is over. Payments ahead. End of story.
Benett

concerned
concerned
9 years ago

Wilbrecht and Marianna are working together, but are not listening to any of the towns concerns. Their only concern is lining their own pockets at the expense of the safety of the towns people. We can’t afford an adequate police force but can afford to overpay for “cush” unnecessary positions… Read more »

SPAZ
SPAZ
9 years ago

To know the FUTURE LOOK to the past… What did people do 25 years ago when no police dept existed in Mammoth? That’s what they will do now. Chief, they dropped your budget, deal with it and drop your salaries. Not your services. Just like all the rest of us.… Read more »

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
9 years ago
Reply to  SPAZ

The Chief can’t “drop salaries”. They are negotiated between the Town and the Police Officers
Association. The Chief himself will lose $50,000 a year through re-structuring of Town government. Services are provided by officers, so I’m not sure how you would propose maintaining services but not salaries.
Benett Kessler

Get Real
Get Real
9 years ago
Reply to  SPAZ

The Mammoth of today is not what it was 25 years ago. Cops are in demand through out the state. You have to pay good money to hire and retain them. The council is going along with your suggestions so the cops are leaving to go where they are fairly… Read more »

Big Rick OB
Big Rick OB
9 years ago
Reply to  SPAZ

25 years ago, the town had 4 bars instead of 20+ (I’m guessing) and HALF the population.
AND…there was no meth epidemic back then.

elsinoreracer
elsinoreracer
9 years ago
Reply to  Big Rick OB

Were you even here 25 years ago? If anything there may have more bars then. They come and go. i.e. Cask and Cleaver, Tavern, Las Montanas, V.I. etc. etc. As soon a license comes available here someone bids on it. As for the meth epidemic…well I believe I still have… Read more »

Chase
Chase
9 years ago
Reply to  SPAZ

Spaz, you’re exactly right!!! Love you. Bennett, the chief can drop salaries once their contract is up and he has less money to work with. He can either drop salaries of existing cops, or hire new cops at a smaller salary once the contract is up. Also, I don’t know… Read more »

Get Real
Get Real
9 years ago
Reply to  Chase

Chase, you should put yourself through a Police Academy at your own expense like many of the MLPD officers did. I bet you would quit by the first week. If by some miracle you did pass, I bet you would not pass the background or the psycological testing. Do all… Read more »

Greg
Greg
9 years ago

Don’t worry, you have plenty of backup in the Town. Let’s see, Fish and Game Wardens, NPS Ranger, BLM Ranger, Forest Service Ranger, CHP, Sheriff. Miss any agency? As I recall from a report a few years back, the Eastern Sierra has the highest Police to Citizen ratio in all… Read more »

Your Outta Your Mind like Joe Biden
Your Outta Your Mind like Joe Biden
9 years ago
Reply to  Greg

Greg, Don’t be ignorant, Fish and Game Wardens, NPS Ranger, BLM Ranger, Forest Service Ranger’s will not back up Mammoth PD, The Sheriff’s department and CHP will not be patrolling Mammoth and will most likely not be available to backup Mammoth PD and if they are the response time will… Read more »

toomuch
toomuch
9 years ago

give me a break!! i can’t tell you how many times i’ve come up on a stop a seen cops from all the agencies!!!!!!!!

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
9 years ago
Reply to  toomuch

And your point is?
BK

Get Real
Get Real
9 years ago
Reply to  Greg

None of those agencies are 24 hours. There will not be any after hour help. The Rangers are 8 to 5 and are not trained or experienced in what the Police Department responds to including bear calls.

Nancy Backerman
Nancy Backerman
9 years ago

I suspect crime will increase – criminals will all too quickly figure out that there are limited police resources available and that there’s a diminished likelihood of consequences from getting caught. Nice way to encourage criminal activity during those times when there aren’t any officers on duty. Interesting that the… Read more »

Big AL
Big AL
9 years ago

Good point .. about them being elected to represent the people.

What representation?
What representation?
9 years ago
Reply to  Big AL

Elected officials don’t have to have anything on the ball. They don’t need a Masters of Public Administration degree, no previous governing experience, a resume, etc. They just need enough votes to begin their power-trip. And speaking of representation, Mono County Supervisor, Johnston, represents a section of Mammoth that is… Read more »

joe glotz
joe glotz
9 years ago

No wonder health care is so expensive if an off duty cop gets paid $40.00 an hour as a security guard at that hot bed of violent crime Northern Inyo Hospital.

ferdinand lopez
ferdinand lopez
9 years ago

these comments show that police are only appreciated when needed.you better hope you dont.i guess if your a drug dealing idiot,then this is a good thing

mobiltec
mobiltec
9 years ago

The dept and the city sure seem to have plenty of time and money to spend on making life easier for the illegal alien community (hispanic community). Even supplying interpretors so they can voice their opinons and needs at meetings. When they should be spending their time arresting these people… Read more »

Chase
Chase
9 years ago
Reply to  mobiltec

I wish I could hit Like 10 times for your comment, Mobiltec. You’re spot on…

Mark
Mark
9 years ago
Reply to  mobiltec

TOML has gone out of its way catering to the illegal aliens in the community and has consequently earned all issues and burdens that come with catering to illegal activities.

Spare us the race card BK.

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
9 years ago
Reply to  Mark

I’m not playing any card games.
BK

Ted Gardner
Ted Gardner
9 years ago

Bishop Officers can make $40.00 per hour at Northern Inyo Hospital doing Security work. Who would want to drive to Mammoth and have to deal with a drunk 20 year old on the ice and snow, in a town where some people think Police Officers “make too much money”. Then… Read more »

Future Look
Future Look
9 years ago
Reply to  Ted Gardner

Great points Ted. The Town Council has shot themselves in the head! The busiest time of the year will start next month. It will be very interesting to see what will happen after Christmas, especially New Years Eve. The other issue is the moral support that MLPD Officers are receiving… Read more »

Chase
Chase
9 years ago
Reply to  Future Look

I can’t wait until New Year’s passes with no incidents. Then what are you going to gripe about? I’ve lived here since 1992 and I don’t recall very many serious crimes that need 17 cops making $200k (roughly) a year to control. The only ones who “shot themselves in the… Read more »

Get Real
Get Real
9 years ago
Reply to  Chase

It takes 17 cops to field 2 to 3 officers 24/7/365

I never said it will happen on New years. It could happen eny time after 3:00 A.M. when there are no cops on duty.

Get Real
Get Real
9 years ago
Reply to  Chase

It takes 17 officers to field 2 to 3 officers 24/7/365 An emergency requiring the Police can happen anytime, not just New Years. With no cops on after 3:00 A. M. what do you think will happen? Cops and Firefighters are in the Emergency business. They must plan, train and… Read more »

upthecreek
upthecreek
9 years ago
Reply to  Ted Gardner

Sure he will not have any problems finding help .. After all it is the Pensions and future benefits they are After.

GGW

Mark
Mark
9 years ago
Reply to  Ted Gardner

I’d rather drive to Bridgeport in the snow then across Los Angeles on a sunny day.

Funny you make it sound like a bad thing.

and who’s paying whom $40 an hour at Northern Inyo Hospital?

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
9 years ago
Reply to  Mark

You may have missed the point of Ted’s comment. I believe he was comparing
police officers working in Bishop doing security at Northern Inyo Hospital on
off hours for $40 an hour versus working in Mammoth Lakes.
BK

Mark
Mark
9 years ago
Reply to  Benett Kessler

I didn’t miss Ted’s point. My question was who is paying $40 an hour. Is it the hospital or is it a private security contractor. Either way $40 is very high for the industry. Perhaps Ted is mistaking or there’s some funny business to look into. Look at average pay… Read more »

Get Real
Get Real
9 years ago
Reply to  Mark

It is the Hospital that is paying that wage. They only hire Professional Law Enforcement Officers, current and retired. They want professional security not $10.00 an hour rent-a-cops who went through a one week secutity guard school.

Big AL
Big AL
9 years ago
Reply to  Mark

What is so high about $40 an hour? especially since it is only part time .. no benefits.

Mark
Mark
9 years ago
Reply to  Benett Kessler

Get Real Wow that’s a pretty derogatory opinion you have of someone who does what is required by the state to legally be an armed guard. It almost sounds like you think you’re better then them. I do not feel the same way. But if what you say is true,… Read more »

Trouble
Trouble
9 years ago

Personally, I never like seeing police in my rearview mirror anyway.

Rob
Rob
9 years ago

Thank god that there in no more narcotic enforcement in Mammoth Lakes. Cheers to the town for once doing something right. I got so tired of guessing who was an informant these days. Time to expand operations back into the high school where the real cash is since the one… Read more »

Get Real
Get Real
9 years ago
Reply to  Rob

Rob, If you are worried about informants, that must mean you are a drug dealer right?

concerned
concerned
9 years ago
Reply to  Rob

dont be a smart a**

Rob
Rob
9 years ago

How the heck does a struggling resort town hire a $300,000 police chief?? This is mismanagement at its worst. I’m sure that Watson is a great guy and that he took a 16% pay cut, but his salary and benefits are obscene for Mammoth Lakes. We’re talking about cutting officer… Read more »

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
9 years ago
Reply to  Rob

I asked Chief Watson to clarify his pay situation. Here is his reply: “My salary is $183,547 per year. I pay 9% of that into the PERS pension system as my employee contribution. The reason there is confusion for some over the amount I am paid is that there’s a… Read more »

SkiJohn
SkiJohn
9 years ago
Reply to  Rob

Rob, thank you for being a logical person. You’re exactly right. I’m going to be a Mammoth police chief in my next life. He also has a full pension from LA, too. Smart guy…

Future Look
Future Look
9 years ago

It will be interesting to see how our councilmembers respond to the citizens of Mammoth when a 911 call comes in of a violent assault, domestic or otherwise, and there is no Police Officers on duty. This also effects the response of the Fire Department and Paramedics. They cannot respond… Read more »

Big Rick OB
Big Rick OB
9 years ago

The remaining officers have a rough road ahead…with all the upcoming vacancies & cutbacks, I don’t see how these guys (and gals) will ever get a day off. Are they expected to work 7 days a week ? With all the added responsibilities and sacrifices they are taking on ,… Read more »