Paso Robles gangs, civic concern growing
October 27, 2011
Residents of Paso Robles and other North County communities are keenly aware of a growing gang presence in their neighborhoods, but many public officials continue to pretend nothing is wrong. [NewTimes]
In recent weeks, law enforcement agencies have banded together into a “task force” to deal with the proliferation of gangs and gang-related violence, but at the same time city and county budget writers are shaving funds for youth activities as fast as their blue pencils can scratch.
Paso Robles Mayor pro Tem John Hamon told New Times that he is “aware of gangs in our town, along with many others up and down the coast.” Hamon said the city has a “zero tolerance” for gang activities, and that the city “must keep our (police) department strong and with a presence that sends the correct message to this element.”
It was recently reported by CalCoastNews that police personnel in Paso Robles have been thinned drastically — from 40 officers in 2007 to 27 in 2010 — and that priorities for police response to emergency calls have been rearranged so that only “top level” emergencies are answered in a timely fashion.
Paso Robles officials have approved the hiring of four new officers in the aftermath of widespread public criticism of the department’s performance.