Tag Archives: Chief Kirk Trostle Chico Ca

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.

Just what really is the problem Downtown?

5 Apr

Yesterday was one of my top 10 worst days. I won’t go through the events – there was blood – but suffice to say, when the dirt settled, everything went my way.  In a roundabout fashion.

I was supposed to attend the “Luncheon with the Chief” with the Chamber of Commerce. I put my foot in Katie Simmon’s door and told her I didn’t think it was appropriate for city employees like Kirk Trostle and Brian Nakamura to talk to a “members only” audience. Nakamura has spoken at their last two meetings – I couldn’t make those, and yeah, I’m suspicious they were talking about their proposed sales tax increase, but oh well. Yesterday was plenty juicy.

Of course I showed up 45 minutes late. I had a horrible morning, I won’t go into that. I got the time all mixed up. When I realized I hadn’t completely missed the luncheon, I got in my car (!) and jammed Downtown to catch the Chief’s coattails. I wanted to hear what he had to say to this “members only” audience, and I had a few questions to ask him myself.

The Chamber is made up of businesses from all over town, but lately they are taken up, like everybody else, with the “homeless problem,” which is perceived to be mostly Downtown.   “Homeless” is the wrong word – it’s like saying “Tea Party Patriot” – it could mean anything. I’ve been “homeless,” by the standard definition – I had no address, I was a “couch surfer.” I had my stuff at my sister’s house, where she lived with Husband 2 and the assorted kids.  I slept at her house when things were quiet, I slept in a borrowed sleeping bag in the back room at my job, I slept at friends’ houses when they weren’t home, etc. That was a time in my life that I measured by semesters. I moved every six months, sometimes it worked out, sometimes it didn’t. I’ll never forget the time a roommate and I both left our apartment in the middle of the night, sat all night at Dennys to avoid the domestic violence that went on in the apartment over our heads.  We sure as hell felt homeless for the month we lived in that dump, we never even unpacked our stuff.

But I’ve been Downtown, and I’ve lived in and around Downtown over the years – the problem there is mental illness, alcohol abuse, and a enabling city council and $taff.

The “homeless” question is complex. I attended a Police Advisory Board meeting a couple of weeks ago on the same subject. Lieutenant Linda Dye gave a short report about a week-long mental health class that trains “some” Chico PD officers in “how to handle”  people who may or may not be, uh, crazy.  She made note of the fact that some of these people are not crazy, but taking advantage of our kind hearts. Lieutenant Jennifer Gonzales pounded that point home at city council’s special meeting a couple of weeks ago. She feels Chico is on what she called “the homeless highway” and that most of them are perfectly healthy people who’ve learned to take advantage of the public in general.

So, with a “40 hour class,” these two women are now competent to  tell us who’s nuts and who’s just faking it?

Dye told us something that caught my attention – when they arrest somebody who is not considered to be rational, they take them to ENLOE for what they call “51/50”. That means they consider the person to be a danger to him/herself and/or the public and they are put on 72 hours observation.   These people are turned over to the staff at the Enloe ER – hey, that’s something you might want to know before you take your kid down to Enloe for that ear ache at 2:30 in the morning. I had a friend who took her kid in on an afternoon – sprained ankle – and described the place as “an insane asylum.” I thought she was talking about the nurses, but now I wonder.

So, they dump these nutjobs – oh, excuse me – helpless idiots off at the ER and drive away. These arrestees are supposed to be picked up by “the county.” That’s how Chief Trostle said it at the PAB meeting, just, “the county.” He and Dye said that sometimes “the county” is short handed, and they don’t get down to the hospital to pick these people up for hours. The hospital is not allowed to hold the person, so oftentimes these people, who some cop considered a danger to the public? – simply wander out of the hospital and back to whatever they were doing when the cops picked them up.

I looked into the county mental health department.  According to the Butte County website,  they’ve got 12 psychiatrists listed on staff and two nurse practitioners. But if you check the salary listings in the ER, you only find one of those psychiatrists listed, along with 23 “interns.”  As of 2010, that psychiatrist gets a major salary reduction, and then he’s gone.

I don’t know what to make of that, but given other stuff I’ve heard about Butte County mental health – including two suicides by patients who were allowed to wander out of the county facility – I don’t have very high expectations for their work.

So, here we’re left with a p0lice force that thinks they’re qualified to make mental health evaluations after a one-week class at Butte College, and an overpaid county staff who can’t even be counted on to pick up or supervise at-risk patients.

Yesterday the topic of conversation was a “sit lie” law, such as those currently under effect in cities like San Francisco. This means, essentially, the cops can arrest a person who is sitting or laying on the sidewalk and refuses to move out of the public right of way.

This law has been on the books in San Francisco, and got a  lot of attention during the “Occupy Movement”. Unfortunately, while you’d think it is a no-brainer to have laws permitting free movement on public sidewalks, this “sit lie” law has had little positive effect. For one thing, it looks like the cops, at their own discretion, are only really enforcing it in one part of town – the Haight district (don’t forget to wear a flower in your hair!). There it just looks like harassment, and the bums are moving through the jail faster than a revolving door, landing right back in their semi-dry puddle of puke before the average shop owner can hose it off the sidewalk. The shop owners are fed up – the “sit lie” law is just producing an overwhelming load on the courts, it ‘s not solving the problem of people laying sprawled out in front of doorways, demanding change, or just being generally abusive to customers and passers by. 

Here’s an article from the SF Chronicle:

http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Sit-lie-law-primarily-enforced-in-Haight-3763521.php

When I was a kid, we shopped in Chico, we never saw anybody resembling a wino or a bum. The sidewalks were clean – I think I would remember having to step over people, human and dog excrement, puke or other nasty substances, I was a little girl wearing my best patent leather shoes. My grandma was a very proper lady, and she wouldn’t have put up with stuff like that, she would have set up a howl with all her other old lady friends and it would have been dealt with, that’s how it was when I was a kid. You didn’t sit there and complain, you went out and said something to your elected officials. I remember standing on the steps of Ray Johnson’s house on Vallombrosa with my grandma and her lady friends, demanding highway improvements. Think of that next time you’re driving down Hwy 99 and you see that “Ray E. Johnson” memorial. 

So the Downtown merchants, mostly, are demanding the city and the cops do something about the mess this liberal council has allowed to fester Downtown. They want this “sit lie” ordinance. Chief Trostle says the police have been asking council to “give us direction.”  

And now, I have to go, but next time, I’ll tell you what the chief said when I asked him about the “A.C.E.” ordinance, which I feel is very related to the “homeless” conversation.