It's not just the ordinances
A few clarifications.
What I learned from reading my own quotes in the story above, is that I’m not the most eloquent speaker -- sometimes I speak none too well. Oh well.
My main point regarding the drop in retention is that it’s an indicator. Of what? Well, no one can say definitively. I absolutely support CSD letting people go when it’s determined that they will not work out, but I also know some of the other reasons that folks left. Let me clarify one thing: Remson “didn’t defend his job performance” because the discussion wasn’t about his job performance. At the meeting I clearly stated that this was not my implication. I did state my belief that the retention problems are an indicator that there is something wrong in security. This could be a problem with the chief, the general manager, the board itself, or one of those problems that was inherited and is currently no one’s fault, but just is. I think of it a bit as “security sludge” (for those of you that followed the water problems).
Here is what I contend:
The district has authorized their officers powers of arrest (District Code 7.06(d)(2) and 7.20). In the legal literature, depending on which municipal codes one reads, you will see the PC 836.5 arrest authority has been called either peace officer’s powers of arrest (for misdemeanors) or public officer’s powers of arrest. It is universally agreed by all parties in this conversation that our officers do *not* have peace officer authority. However, they have been given arrest authority in the district code. (Peace officer status and arrest authority are separate entities.)
The new law (SB 135, 2005) specifically tells community service districts that they can provide either security services or a police department.
If the district lawyer states that the district cannot operate under PC 836.5, then more than just the ability to cite for ordinances is affected. The way in which many calls are responded to is affected. Currently, Security often acts as our local (limited) law enforcement, and it’s difficult to imagine how that will change, thus the handout at the meeting (link to handout can be found here: http://tinyurl.com/6y92dh).
As just a couple of examples, IF CSD Security really are only security guards, then…
If you have a burglary in progress, a security guard has no authority to help you.
If there is a domestic violence call, a security guard has no authority to help you.
If Security sees any drug activity in the community, they have no authority to act.
If you require medical care from the fire department as a result of any possibly criminal activity (anything where charges might be filed, like a fight, etc.), the fire department medics will not be able to attend to you until SSD is on the scene.
I also contend that the only way that the community can decide what we want now, or in the future, is to fully understand what we have now, or don’t have.
Depending on what the lawyer tells the folks over at CSD, this really has the potential to be a major event. If this is the case, it is my hope that all ratepayers will become involved, and learn about the issues. If the ratepayers don’t take an active role, then about 7 people will be making some big public safety decisions for all of us.
I honestly think that Chief Remson summarized the situation perfectly:
"Hopefully what we'll do is better define our role. And if that role is more enforcement, then so be it. If that role is less enforcement, then so be it. But we'll hopefully eliminate any gray areas with input from the board and the community and what we legally can and can't do. Hopefully we can get a good group of officers that will be comfortable following those rules and regulations as they're handed down to us."