Tag Archives: Kirk Trostle Chico Police Chief

Divvying up the city pie

25 Nov
This is a "pie chart" of the city budget.

Imagine this as a “pie chart” of the city budget.

When we went to the Tea Party meeting at Marie Callender’s last month, we picked up a pie heading out the door. I told my husband, make it something decadent, so he got this chocolate cream pie, pictured above. When we got home and divvied up three little pieces among ourselves, I said, “Wow, police and fire get the rest.”

The picture above is a pretty good representation of the “public safety” portion of the City of Chico budget. Last time I looked, the annual expenditures were around $43 million, and the police department was getting over 21 of that, or roughly half. The fire department gets less than the police department, but between the two of them, they eat about 84 percent of our communal pie.  Imagine – all the other departments, I think seven other employee groups in all, get to fight over that last little piece. Give you a little look-see what the contract negotiations are all about, eh?

Tomorrow morning I’m going to try to make it out of here by 7:45 to get to a Finance Committee meeting. I’ve already looked over the agenda and reports, available here:

www.ci.chico.ca.us/document_library/minutes_agendas/finance_committee/11-26-13FinanceCommitteeAgendaPacket.pdf

According to the monthly finance report, the police department is more than $100,000 over budget for overtime.  I’m looking forward to hearing Trostle’s explanation, I’ll keep you posted.

Time to take back the cop shop

24 Nov

In past I’ve been friendly with Tea Party members, and I still will be. But when I got this notice today, saying Randall Stone should be dismissed from the Police Advisory Board because he made public harassment by a Chico police officer, I had to tell them, we’re 180 degrees apart on this one Folks.

Below is the section of the code pulled out by Tea Party maven Stephanie Taber. It says member of the PAB must sign an agreement promising to lie to the public about what’s going on in the police department. Yep, that’s what it says – PAB members are not allowed to tell the public when there’s a problem in the cop shop. Read it yourself.

219.11 CONFIDENTIALITY
(a) Matters relating to personnel issues are governed by various laws of the State of
California and the City of Chico as well as various labor contracts. Personnel matters
are confidential. No member of the Police Community Advisory Board may divulge
any information regarding a personnel matter that has been deemed confidential by
the Chief of Police.
(b) Every new member of the Police Community Advisory Board, prior to hearing any
personnel matter, must sign an agreement, as prepared by the City Attorney, agreeing
and promising to maintain the confidentiality of any personnel matter.
(c) Only the Chief of Police or City Manager (or City Manager’s representative), with the
advise of the City Attorney, has the authority to determine what information related to
any personnel matter may be made public.

I think I know Stephanie Taber well enough to say this – if she’d found out something she didn’t like in one of those meetings, she’d squeal like a pig.  And of course, that would be legal, because she’s a member of the public. Of course, those meetings were not being properly noticed to the public until I squealed like a pig to city clerk Debbie Presson.  I had to bitch about it a couple of times, but finally she said, “As of yesterday, Police Department staff was asked to include the agenda (as had been past practice) under the “Minutes and Agendas” page as that is where citizens look for such items.  They will be doing so for all future meetings. “

See where she says, “as had been past practice“?  Trostle just dropped the notice from the notice page, apparently he didn’t think it was important to let the public in on these meetings. When I’ve been to these meetings I’ve noticed Trostle is uptight and hates answering questions. I’m sure he’d just drop these meetings if allowed. 

Presson offered to put me on the notice list, but I realized, maybe it’s not so smart to be on that list. I thanked her for getting the notices put back up, that’s enough. 

And, I told Mark Sorensen too, but he didn’t seem to think it was important. He told me, “Police Advisory Board Meeting is on the web site”  and sent me a link to the obscure police page it was listed on. That’s what Sorensen always does when I point out a problem to him – admits I’m right, but gives me private band-aid information instead of getting the problem fixed.  Does he just expect me to disseminate this info? No, here’s what he thinks – the public doesn’t care enough to pay attention, that’s what he thinks.  Sorensen can be a really snotty little prick when you press him, no holds barred. When he wants something, he’s going to get it, and he wants to be credited with “turning the town around.” Instead, I think he’s going to be that kid who knocks the puck into his own goal – Sorensen and Nakamura are going to put the last nail in our coffin.

Trostle needs to GO!

21 Nov

Sent to Chico PD Chief Kirk Trostle at kirk.trostle@chicoca.g0v

Chief Trostle,

 I think you are making a mistake trying to kick Councilor Stone off the PAB.    We all know this is about Stone’s asking you police officers to pay your own benefits. 

 Boothe should be disciplined for calling a council member “an idiot” because of his stance on employee pensions and benefits.  I believe Boothe has created a “hostile work place.” In fact, from a  citizen’s point of view, you have created a “hostile environment” for all of us, refusing to pay your own benefits when our town is in this kind of situation. Then allowing your subordinate to harass an elected officer publicly? That’s really poor judgement on your part. 

 I think you should also consider stepping down. You are obviously not suited to a management position. 

 

Juanita Sumner

Camden New Jersey throws out their cop contracts – Chico needs to look into this

27 Oct

People think I hate all cops – no, I just hate cop, or any public employee, who abuses the public trust to enrich themselves. This is how I see Kirk Trostle and most of our police force – greedy pigs who threaten us with increasing crime unless we meet their demands for pay increases, extra overtime, and more officers. They refuse to pay ANYTHING toward their generous health benefits and retirement packages.   Asked along with other city departments to cut 10% of their budget, they came back with demands for raises and promotions.  Recently Trostle said they need more money for Halloween overtime, their continual foot in the door being a threat of Chico State and Butte College students and their “friends from out of town” having a “riot”. 

Here’s what a “riot” looks like:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vD_amsSsg78

I realize, these holidays bring people into town, whether they are registered to attend college, I do not know. But I think the cops’ hype is overblown, and poor advertising for our town. I think they bring in as many problem visitors as they keep away, maybe more, with their taunting, baiting, threatening attitude. They’ve taken a children’s holiday and turned it into a dirty word with continuous threats of Anarchy to frighten and mislead the public into giving in to their demands.  

Trostle went on and on about the consequences of drinking in our town at the Community Alcohol Workshop last week. There was plenty of talk about instituting fees for bars and restaurants, mainly Downtown, but not one word about holding the actual perpetrators – the people who choose to over-consume alcohol – responsible for their actions. Chico PD tells us again and again, registered college students, in disproportionate numbers,  are getting drunk, drinking underage or providing alcohol to underage persons,  getting in fights, getting alcohol poisoning,  being both the victim and perpetrator of sexual assaults, and other dangerous and just plain annoying – oh and did I mention ILLEGAL – behaviors related to alcohol intoxication. They tell us this group is causing a disproportionate drain on resources, both public and private. So, why don’t they prosecute these kids, and better yet, get them in trouble over at the college?  

 I’ve been told Mike Ramsey won’t prosecute these cases – not enough time he says. I think he means, there’s not enough money in them.   I wonder if it also has anything to do with the college being afraid parents will get mad and the college will get a bad reputation. I think the “Party School” image works more positively for a sausage school like Chico State than a reputation for putting kids in jail and squeezing them for money. As for Chico PD, I look forward to a chief that will take on the DA and the Chancellor, but Trostle isn’t that chief.

Instead Trostle is trying to demonize not only bar and restaurant owners but landlords.  Seeking to bill property owners for problems arising out of  their tenants’ house parties, he’s asking council to put a  “civil response cost” ordinance on the ballot.  This will allow Chico PD and Fire, as well as ambulance companies and hospitals, to bill landlords instead of the actual party hosts, without due process of law. This ordinance gives Chico PD the right to attach a landlord for expenses occurred under police discretion without proving the landlord had any knowledge of the party. Here again, we have a blatant money grab by a chief who does not want to go the proper route through court because it means actual police work.   In typical style, he tries to use statistics about underage drinking, alcohol deaths, and sexual assault as an excuse to shake down landlords and property owners. 

Chico PD also uses the street people to flame the public’s fears,  using the failure of the “sit/lie” ordinance as their excuse for not dealing with the increasingly bad atmosphere Downtown and the proliferation of transient hot spots all over Chico. An employee at Rite Aid on Mangrove says they don’t call the police anymore because they’ve refused to come, saying they don’t have the personnel to deal with “code issues.” They tell us they can’t arrest them without “sit/lie.”  A guy standing in front of the automatic door of a store, filthy, waving a bottle of booze and screaming at the top of his lungs, stepping back and forth into the sensor beam on the automatic door, causing the door to open and shut itself into a fit, is a “code issue.”  Standing in the middle of a walkway, hostile to passerby, finally staggering out into the parking lot to confront a man in a Blazer is a “code issue.” 

As Peter Durfee demonstrated recently, there are already many reasons for Chico PD to interact with street people, ticketing them for a variety of violations that have been a part of the Chico code for over 10 years now, a response to people who saw the writing on the wall that long ago.  We’ve also had State Parks employees in Bidwell Park, citing campers and removing illegal campsites. The city, both the police department and the park department, have allowed Bidwell Park to become infested with illegal campers, supposed “homeless” folks. I’ll tell you what, I see them when I traverse the park in the morning out to do my errands, I see them when I’m doing business up and down Mangrove Avenue, and I see them when I cross Lindo Channel to head over to the North side of town. I don’t feel safe. There’s been too many incidents lately, with transients attacking each other, attacking other people, knifings, and strong arm robberies. Chico PD has allowed this army of the night to take over various areas linked up by the creeks and the convenience stores by simply not enforcing basic laws of loitering, trespassing, public intoxication, camping and urination/defecation.  I don’t know what law covers it, but I’m pretty sure these people are not allowed to harass others either.  These things have always been illegal, and there’s also rules about where they can panhandle that are blatantly violated, but only lately has anybody been enforcing them. Just Durfee? Just long enough to get his fat puss in the News and Review? 

Is it only clear to me Chico PD has long ago stopped serving the public? 

I know there’s other ways to solve our problem.  Thanks Jim in Chico for this story from Camden, New Jersey. I did some research, and you will also find an article about how they did it by getting rid of things out of the contracts, like paying employees for unused vacation and sick time!

From National Public Radio, reporter Elizabeth Fielder:

Last year the city [of Camden, New Jersey] set a new record with 67 homicides, the worst since 1995. To combat crime, [Camden County Police Chief Scott] Thomson says the department is trying a blend of old school policing, getting officers out of their cars and on to foot patrols, and newer technology using microphones to record gunshots and cameras to capture license plate numbers and remotely keep an eye on the streets. Camden’s made some inroads. Since the new police force took over, the long ailing city’s crime rate has fallen 15 percent. Homicides are down 22 percent and burglaries dropped nearly 30 percent. In one tough neighborhood, a bunch of little kids are playing football in a patch of grass.

[According to Camden County Commissioner Louis Cappelli Jr.,] “We will have 401 police officers, 100 civilians at the same cost that Camden was paying to employ 260 police officers and the salaries for the police officers that we brought over are the same as the salaries that they were being paid before. What we were able to do is to eliminate some of the frivolous financial terms that were developed over decades through labor negotiations.”

From NBC News, April 30, 2013

The last remaining members of the 141-year-old police department in Camden, N.J., will retire their badges Tuesday as the city — stricken by brutal murders and crippling poverty — yields its streets to a new metro division of the county police force.

Gov. Chris Christie and other advocates hope that the transition to a county-run force will help drag the city of 77,000 out of a half century of post-industrial decline and decay, its annals pockmarked by open-air drug markets and sky-high murder rates. Union leaders called the new policing model, which was approved by local and state officials in August 2011, “untested” and said the move amounts to union busting.

Officials have struggled for years to reduce crime in a city where more than 42 percent of people are thought to live below the poverty line. Budget cuts forced the city to lay off 168 officers in January 2011 — 46 percent of the entire department. A spike in crime ensued

Even after some of the laid-off officers trickled back with the help of federal funds, crime rates never fully leveled off. Camden had about 270 cops to rely on as the streets turned into killing zones last year, with absentee rates reported as high as 30 percent, said Jose Cordero, a consultant with 21 years of New York City Police Department experience.

Police union contracts had gotten too expensive for the city, said Cordero, who helped design the new force. Officers could earn an 11 percent bump in their pay by working an anti-crime patrol, or 10 percent more for working a nighttime shift.

“The primary purpose of this was the city could not afford to staff up its police department to the number of officers required to have a fighting chance in what is one of the deadliest cities in America,” Cordero said.

Officers in what will be a 400-strong metro division, to be backed by 100 civilian employees, have trained on the streets of Camden alongside city police since March. About half of the regional force is expected to be comprised of members of the old Camden Police Department.

“I’m looking to see a partnership form between the metro division officers and the citizens of Camden; that partnership is crucial to prevent future crimes,” said Freeholder director Louis Capelli, Jr., who helped develop the new force.  “For the first time in decades they’ll have officers walking the beat and in their neighborhoods on bicycles.”

Camden is so far the only town or city to make use of the regional police department, which will be paid for by city property tax revenues and state municipal aid funds, Capelli said.

Camden Police Chief Scott Thomson will take control of the new force on Wednesday after retiring his city post. The force will cost Camden an estimated $62 million, the same amount the city use to pay for the smaller previous force.

Some city residents and business owners said they were pleased with the change as the new force began to roll out on streets in April.

From nj.com, March 13, 2013 –

By Terrence T. McDonald/The Jersey Journal 

on March 13, 2013 at 9:42 PM

Jersey City has come to an agreement with three labor unions representing fire and police officials and rank-and-file police officers that give the employees a 2.5 percent salary hike for the second half of this year.

The three new contracts, which also provide a roughly 2 percent pay increase for each of the next three years, were approved unanimously tonight by the nine-member City Council.

The new labor agreements address some issues that have caused headaches for city finance officials for years, including terminal leave. New employees will not be eligible for this perk thanks to the new contracts.

“We’ve all seen some of the larger payouts, and the union representatives were willing to work with us to address that growing concern,” Assistant Business Adminstrator Robert J. Kakoleski told the council on Monday. “All three deals make significant impacts on that benefit.”

The new contracts apply to workers in the Jersey City Fire Officers Association, the Jersey City Police Superiors Officers Association and the Jersey City Police Officers Benevolent Association.

Workers in the three unions hired after Jan. 1, 2013 will not be eligible for “terminal leave” payouts, which cost the city roughly $10 million last year.

Longevity pay, which amount to bonuses tied to the number of years an employee works for the city, will be capped at 12 percent for new employees, down from 16 percent for current workers.

Members of the three unions will also have to pay increased co-pays on prescription drugs.

 

“Super Troopers” starring Chico Police Chief Kirk Trostle

5 Aug

I attended the first Internal Affairs discussion a couple of weeks ago regarding Kirk Trostle’s request to fabricate a city licensing procedure for bars and restaurants, based on land use regulation, or “zoning.”   This is one of those conversations where almost nobody is saying what they really mean.

As I reported earlier, various people in the discussion have different motivations. The bar owners are all pretty afraid to express themselves. They seemed to be mouthing a line for the city’s satisfaction – don’t bite the hand, and all that.  The committee members, Sean Morgan, Ann Schwab and Tammi Ritter, were all in their separate corners on this, with Schwab doing her best Annie Bidwell impersonation, Ritter seeming to be dragging her feet against over-regulation, and Morgan acting like the moderator of this debate, trying to make sure everybody gets in on the conversation, even if the conversation goes on in perpetuity.

Chico Police Chief Kirk Trostle started this conversation, originally wanting an ordinance to go before the public, requiring bars, restaurants, and “any business having to do with liquor”, to pay a fee, based on square footage of the establishment, that would go to the police department.  When Lori Barker  popped his ACE ordinance balloon, telling him it would be an illegal tax on alcohol, Scott Gruendl came to the rescue with an order that staff come up with some kind of zoning regulation that could be applied with no input from the public. 

Yes, this would also generate fees – Mark Wolfe from the planning department said such an ordinance would add “$5,000 – $6,000” to the licensing procedure for each business. I asked where that money would go, but nobody answered. I noticed, Kirk Trostle stiffened up and his face turned red. I didn’t make any friends at the cop shop that day. 

Mark Wolfe also reported that when council ordered him to come up with some kind of marijuana ordinance, he kept track of his time and that of his limited staff. He said they used at least $30,000 worth of staff time on that sinker. I asked him to repeat that figure. Ann Schwab later made fun of me, saying, essentially, that $30,000 is nothing. I hate to tell her, but most of the families in this town live on very little more than $30,000, and many live on less. She makes $80,000+ in a fluff position at the college, a salary that is stapled onto your college kid’s butt. Then she has the nerve to take a salary of around $7,000 from the city of Chico, plus a $21,000 insurance package.  

Ann, you need to step down, you are completely out of touch. Or, at least, please stop wearing shorts to meetings with open front tables. Don’t make me take a picture of what those ham hocks of yours look like under that table. 

But, I digress. 

I told the council I thought they were simply duplicating the duties of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board. This really got Trostle’s back up, sheesh he was pissed off. He said, the ABC “has staffing levels from the 1950’s,” claiming they have only two agents for sixteen counties. I’m sure that’s what he said, I wrote it in my notebook right then and there. 

I sensed a case of “Super Troopers.” “Super Troopers” is a very off-color and tasteless comedy movie about a medium sized New England town in which the local police compete with the state highway cops for revenues. Yes, there’s sex, drugs, and inappropriate stuff all the way through, I do not recommend this movie to stodgy buttheads with no sense of humor (“who’s up for mustache rides!”).  But the plot line is still good: the police lie, cheat and steal to get rid of the state troopers all together so they can get their hands on all the law enforcement budget. 

So, I wrote to the ABC office in Redding, where Trostle claimed there’s only two guys sitting around a phone. I just told the guy what I’d heard at the meeting, and he came back with this:

Dear Ms. Sumner,

I apologize for the delay in returning your email.  The Redding District Office covers nine counties (Butte, Glenn, Tehama, Shasta, Lassen, Siskiyou, Trinity, Plumas, and Modoc).  The Redding Office staffing levels in July of 2013 were 3 Agents, 1 Licensing Representative, and 2 front office staff.  The Redding District Office is a satellite Office of the Sacramento District Office.  In July of 2013 the Redding District Office was overseen by a Supervising Agent from the Sacramento District Office.  That Supervising Agent was overseen by a Supervising Agent in Charge who was based out of the Sacramento District Office.  Additionally, ABC has two Special Operation Units, one for Northern California and one for Southern California.  These units are available to assist District Offices with enforcement efforts, whether problematic locations, special events, or assisting district offices with handling complaints of ABC licensed locations. 

 If you have any additional questions, please let me know.

 Paul 

530-224-4830  

I thought about forwarding this to the council, Trostle, etc, asking for some explanation. What do you think? I think it’s “Super Troopers.”