What happens to the revelers after they are arrested Downtown? How about some accountability for the $60,000 spent over four days of Halloween?

20 Dec

A month or so ago I read an article (posted below) in the Enterprise Record regarding the dollar total for police enforcement over Halloween weekend. Over a four day stretch the cops reportedly rang up over $60,000 in regular hours and overtime, it’s all spelled out down there, thank you Almendra Carpizo. 

Lately I’ve been looking over arrest reports – something I found a few years back when I was researching potential tenants. I try to keep an eye on those, which are available online – I just google “Chico police arrest reports,” and usually the most recent ones pop right up. I’ve never kept notes, or tried to make any long term study. What I’ve been doing lately is checking the names on the arrest logs over at the Butte County Superior Court website. I realize, it may take some time to update the court website.  I haven’t been doing this too long, but I will start writing down names and dates on the drunk in public stuff, and then I’ll try to check back to see how many of these drunk in public arrests actually make their way to court.

I’ve been told, Ramsey won’t prosecute, his office is understaffed and overbooked, yadda yadda.  Not to mention, he seems to have been carrying at least one staffer with perpetual hangover the last few years. Whatever the reason, the fact remains – the city of Chico is spending millions of dollars a year on cops who arrest people who are never formally charged with a crime, never prosecuted, and therefore, never tapped for their share of the cost. 

I asked Chief Trostle about it.

Sent to Chief Trostle, Dec 3 2013:  I have a question about arrests made over Halloween, St. Patricks and other high enforcement “holidays”. I was not sure who to ask, so I have sent to you four.  I’ve cc’d the news folks because I thought they’d be interested, or maybe they know something that can shed light here. 

 

My question: what happens to these arrestees? How many are charged formally? How many convictions, generally speaking? How much is collected in fines from these people? If you do the math for this recent Halloween, it cost about $600 per person to make there arrests, how will that money be retrieved? 

 

Thanks, at your convenience, for either answering my questions or forwarding me to someone who can  – Juanita Sumner, Chico

Response rec’d Dec 4 2013:

Ms. Sumner,

I received your email and questions regarding arrests, convictions, and fines.  I wish I had access to that type of information, but unfortunately it doesn’t exist.  I can tell you that during the special events (ie Halloween, St. Patrick’s day, etc.), everyone we arrest is booked into the county jail and charged.  This is different than most of the rest of the year.  For most of the year, people arrested for things such as drunk in public, are not formally charged.  This is mostly due to the workload of the District Attorney’s Office.

 

We do not receive a report from the DA’s Office regarding convictions or fines.  When a case is adjudicated by the courts, we do not receive any notice of the final outcome.  That is also true with potential fines.  It is possible to go to the court’s website and research cases by name, but that is a very time consuming process which we have never had the staff to complete.  Sorry I don’t have more information for you.

 

Ford Porter

Captain

Chico Police Department

I had to thank Captain Porter for his response, but I find it very frustrating, and unacceptable. Here they hold their hand out for more money every Halloween – not to mention, Cesar Chavez Day?  But they don’t have any kind of figures on what becomes of their arrests? That’s just inexcusable un-accountability.  

Again I will quote that old Yiddish saying – When the fish stinks, it’s the head of the fish that stinks!  Here we have a many-headed fish, a monster sporting the heads of Scott Gruendl, Mark Sorensen – the whole council, in fact – along with Brian Nakamura and Kirk Trostle. This is why we have elections folks. It’s time to wrap up some fish and huck it into the bin. 

Chico Police Department reveals salary costs of patrolling Halloween weekend

By ALMENDRA CARPIZO-Staff Writer

POSTED:   12/03/2013 12:00:00 AM PST

CHICO — The Chico Police Department spent more than $60,000 to patrol downtown and the area south of the Chico State University campus from 6 p.m. Oct. 31 to 6 a.m. Nov. 3, according to the department.Chico police used about 1,380 staff hours during that period, mostly due to regular shifts or shift adjustments, according to a press release prepared by Chico Police Lt. George Laver.

“Numerous officers (including detectives) had their shifts adjusted to work Halloween night in an attempt to alleviate overtime,” he stated.

The police chief, captains, lieutenants, detectives, other sworn staff and dispatchers who would normally work during the day were required to work the three nights to help with the event, Laver told the Enterprise-Record on the phone.

The only exceptions were for personnel working a day shift — about 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. — and a few other officers.

The amount of staff that worked is what would be expected, because “unfortunately” that’s what the department has had to do for the last 20 years, Laver said.

“It’s one of the days or events that we have circled in the books and everyone knows that there’s no vacations … A ‘don’t even bother’ type of thing,” he said.

The costs of the extra staffing were just over $42,000 in regular wages and an extra $20,000 for overtime, according to Laver, who oversaw the Halloween operation.

Those wages reflect the people who were pulled from their assignments to work specifically on Halloween weekend and were dedicated to the campus area and downtown, Laver said. There were two teams that were on duty to patrol the rest of Chico, but the amount of money to staff those teams was not included as to not skew the data.

Halloween 2012 took $53,000 out of the department’s overtime pay, and it was expecting to spend about $70,000 to $75,000 in total this year.

Although the figure was smaller than first thought, Halloween weekend costs the department two training days to accommodate for the event and stay on budget.

Typically, the Chico Police Department trains once a month with the department splitting in half and alternating months, Laver said. Training days scheduled for November and January had to be canceled in order to save on overtime.

If the Police Department wouldn’t have done that, overtime costs would be over or comparable to last year, Laver said.

Laver said that during the Halloween weekend there appeared to be fewer arrests than years prior, but he’s unsure why. There were 99 arrests, 84 alcohol-related, according to police.

People may say not to worry and let people have their fun and only respond if there’s a problem, Laver said. However, a situation can quickly become a crowd-control issue and the Police Department won’t be able to muster enough resources to handle it.

Outside agencies like the Butte, Glenn and Tehama County sheriff’s offices, several Butte County police departments, and the Butte County Probation Department donated 686 staff hours to help Chico police during Halloween weekend, according to Laver. The AVOID the 8 DUI Task Force provided an additional 64 hours of enforcement.

“It’s a tremendous help to have those agencies here,” he said.

Laver said he’d like for things to get back to where the Chico Police Department could staff Halloween weekend with its regular shifts or just one extra team.

All the money saved could be used for increased staffing for the remainder of the year, he said. He recalled 1989 as the last year the Police Department had its regular staffing out for the event.

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