Is Paso Robles fabricating crime statistics?

February 23, 2012

Lisa Solomon

“There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” — Phrase popularized by Mark Twain

By KAREN VELIE and DANIEL BLACKBURN

Paso Robles Police Chief Lisa Solomon is proclaiming a dramatic drop in crime under her watch, but the numbers she provides to back up her claim don’t match those furnished by the California Department of Justice (DOJ) and the FBI.

Local law enforcement agencies regularly report accumulated crime numbers to the DOJ which sends them on to the FBI.

Solomon claims credit for an 11.7 percent drop in the city’s crime rate since she became chief in 2007. However, according to FBI crime totals for Paso Robles from 2007 through 2010, the eight major crime categories have risen an average of 2.2 percent per year and violent crimes such as assaults, rapes, and murders have actually increased 16.74 percent over four years. (Data for 2011 is not yet available.)

City officials have provided data that appears to show the total numbers for major crimes in Paso Robles from 2002 to 2006 were higher than totals provided to CalCoastNews by the Justice Department and the FBI. Then, immediately after Solomon became chief, crime totals provided by the city were significantly lower than those the city reported to the DOJ and the FBI.

Crime statistics can vary slightly between what is reported by the DOJ and the FBI because of the difference in federal and state government classifications of crimes such as rape, according to officials from the FBI, the DOJ and local law enforcement. However, in these cases, the numbers reported by the DOJ and the FBI are primarily the same, and simply do not coincide with numbers the city provided as its FBI report numbers.

The crime statistic discrepancy comes amid swirling allegations that Solomon sexually assaulted several of her officers; the claim of a drop in crime has been offered by Solomon to local media outlets as evidence of her job performance.

Solomon responded to a CalCoastNews public records request by delivering a graph showing Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) from the FBI’s reported crime numbers for Paso Robles from 2002 through 2011. The graph appears to support Solomon’s claim that the city’s crime rate has dropped 11.7 percent since she became chief.

However, while many of the crime numbers align with the FBI’s reported numbers, large discrepancies in burglaries are common, with as many as 54 more burglaries a year reported before Solomon was appointed chief.

In comparing only the eight major crimes Solomon used to back her claim, FBI numbers show an average 2.2 percent increase per year in Paso Robles.

Solomon did not respond to questions asking why the crime numbers provided the media by her department do not match those provided by the DOJ and the FBI.

A representative from the DOJ Criminal Justice Statistics Center confirmed that the number of burglaries reported by Paso Robles to CalCoastNews are not consistent with the numbers reported to the state. But, “There has been no manipulation of the data by our agency,” the DOJ representative said in an email.

Even data from the FBI does not accurately portray the crime levels in Paso Robles because responses to crime in the city by other agencies are not listed under the Paso Robles’ police department’s crime statistics. Rob Bryn, the San Luis Obispo Sheriff department’s public information officer, said that sheriff’s deputies assist the city of Paso Robles more than any other municipality in the county.

“The sheriff is aware of the budget issues throughout the county and will assist if resources are available,” Bryn said. Last year in Paso Robles, deputies responded to “30 verified calls total including two requests by CHP due to PRPD not having a unit to back them in their city and one call traffic collision/non-injury that PRPD would not respond to. Deputies handled removing the vehicles from the roadway.”


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Cindy

I checked out the link that “interest” provided to the PRPD website where Lisa elucidates about her departments structure and has placed a current Officer for hire add: http://www.policeone.com/careers/4813230-Police-Officer-City-of-Paso-Robles-Paso-Robles-CA


Having been in the accounting field for many years and being familiar with just about every “trick” in the book, the following immediately caught my attention: “The patrol division works a modified schedule consisting of six 12 hour days and one 8 hour day per two week work period.”


There are laws regarding 12 hour work days and I’m certain this is a law that the PRPD not only embrace but seek to apply, to the fullest extent OF THE LAW: I think you’ll all find this very interesting if you don’t already know where I’m going with this.


The add says the starting salary is $4540 a month to $5767 a month. But that isn’t true; both salaries are actually 10% higher. The hours are 6/ 12hr days and one 8 hour day per each two week period. This would equate to 36 hours one week and 44 hours the second week for a total of 80 hours in a two week pay period, sounds perfect. However 20% of this salary will “by law” be paid at time and half. All Leo except the very high ranking (like the Chief and maybe her Captain) are considered (by the State Labor Board) blue collar or “non-exempt” employees. Any work performed over 10 hours a day (8 unless ¾ of the crew have voted for a 4/10 work week) must be paid in over time. Like wise any hours over 40 a week must be paid in overtime. So after they all work their 80 hour pay period they are paid for 64 hours at straight time and 16 hours at time and one half. This new Employee (like the other Officers) will actually earn an additional $5448 – $6972 (10% above stated salary) a year without working any over time at all! The best part is if he does work overtime, he will be paid double because anything over a 12 hour day is double time, per Ca labor law as it applies to all non-exempt employees, including the PD.


Nice racket, huh?


Maybe they could all work a 4/10 week instead and save us all that extra money so we can afford another Traffic Officer.


Dexter

your 100% off base on this post …. No Overtime involved in 12 hour shift unless they go over 12.


12 hour shifts very common in public safely ….


You need to check all Dept ofLlabor rules before making such a post


SLOBIRD

Dex is correct. City of SLO (and I’m sure other cities) PD work 3 /12 hours and don’t make up the 4 as they use it for getting dressed, court, report writing, etc. Wish I got paid for the time it took me to get dressed and undressed for work everyday.


Cindy

Thanks, I know that Federal Labor Law (FLSA) allows the 12 hour days and only demands that any hours over 40 per week must be paid at OT but CA State Labor Code does not allow it. However I know that the FD got around it for obvious reasons but the last update I read, the CA LEO were “non-exempt” beyond 10 hour days or 40 hours per week (granted its been awhile since I was updated). I don’t doubt, in fact, I’m sure that you’re right and several others have confirmed your post. It’s good for everyone if they are exempt up to 12 hour days and they prefer working them but I’m almost certain that they couldn’t be exempt over 40 as even FLSA prohibits it as far as I know?


Can any HR person chime in as to how it is that the LEO have been able to get around the State DLSE on this item? Maybe they negotiated an exception for LEO through an agreement with the POA upon a special 2/3 vote by its (unions) members?


This is why threads are so cool, in my opinion……


slowtime

Answered already Cindy. yes they do negotiate the agreement.


Crusader

A private company can exceed 10 hours/day and 40 hours/week only if there is an employee union in place and that bargaining unit agrees to the terms. A non-union company does not have such flexibility given the obvious potential for abuse.


Crusader

Without paying OT that is!


Cindy

Crusader, I just looked it up, “non-exempt” can not exceed the 40 weekly hours without receiving OT. I found that in three different reliable reference sites. If I’m misinformed, please give me some direction because I really do want to know if the 40 hours isn’t applicable at both Federal & State levels in all sectors and as of yet, I haven’t found any code exemption on the over 40+OT for “non-exempt” and the PD is still non exempt even if the POA did vote for the exemption on the 3/12 work days, they can not vote themselves as exempt to work over 40 without OT, as far as I know, there is no union that can do it legally by Federal or State Law.


Please advise??????


Crusader

I just did. Unionized, non-exempt personnel can work more than 10 hours in one day or 40 hours in one week if the plan is agreed to through their bargaining units. This is nothing new.


Some firefighters for example work something like 10 days on (24/7) and then 10 days off. All quite legal — and usually to the detriment of the taxpayers.


danika

Sure feels like every form of government is now working to the detriment of its taxpayers.


standup

Cindy, they are in a bargaining unit, aka union where these things get decided (ot or not) that overrides state and federal law. I don’t know for a fact whether or not they are getting regular ot but it is public record if you deem it is necessary to find out.


slowtime

Dex is right. The 3/12 work week is negotiated with the City and Union. OT after 12 or called in on days off.


willieslo

And to think, at the end of the tunnel, no matter what happens, Soloman will end up with a rich and fat pension with other benefit trimmings to go with it.


Crusader

I’m waiting for her to go out on “disability.”


SLOBIRD

And it will happen, and then all her actions will be because she had to work so much and so hard because of the shortage in the dept that she was just not functioning right. The gift that keeps on giving! The City of PR is so going to be paying for this that they could only wish they were the City of Bell so everyone could feel sorry for them. This is just blatant disregard for doing the right thing. How long is top management (CITY COUNCIL) going to let this go on. At this point, this is their problem, their fault and their’s to fix. They are totally accountable for everything coming their way because they knew months ago and have done nothing but listen to APP the other half of the problem. They now carry the burden…


crimevictim

Crusader, that’s a good one!! OMG…. she’s going to wind up suing and most assuredly winning her case!! OK I AM UP TO HERE WITH THIS. Can someone please direct me to the person/s that were offering out their PHONE NUMBERS AND CONTACT INFO??


We need to band together and contact the Attorney General forthwith. If not, there are going to be a few random calls here and there. We need to have all of this mess outlined carefully to present our case. Time is not on OUR side… they are soon going to start offering settlements, which will do the citizens (her other victims) no good !!


SEEKING OTHERS TO BAND TOGETHER…. POWER IN NUMBERS !!!


fhill123

Why has a petition for recall not been started by the citizens of Paso Robles?


Crusader

Balls…


slowtime

or lack therof?


Crusader

Precisely…


crimevictim

GREAT POINT… ARE THEY REALLY THAT CLUELESS AS TO WHAT IS GOING ON???


GetItRight

Why is this woman still working? Really? She must have something on App…..


pasoparent5

and/or one or more of the city councilmen


Crusader

Simple. If she is taken down a great deal of sewage (of their own making) is going to slop onto James L. App and all 5 members of the Paso Robles City Council. It doesn’t appear that a single one of them is beyond reproach.


It’s stunning that she’s still on the job. If someone gets hurt/killed because of her performance that is now know to the world, Paso Robles and its underwriters are going to go broke paying the claims…


slowtime

Good point. Where are the underwriters? This is insurance, this is a risk. Do they have a say?


MaryMalone

Just a thought—if Lisa Solomon used her fake statistics to apply for government grants, she committed fraud.


The Gimlet Eye

Sure it’s fraud, but hell, government is the art of controlling people. The best way to do that is to lie.


On the other hand, that doesn’t mean that you have to take it lying down. Get out your pitchforks, petitions, signs, and go for it! Contact the insurance underwriters and see what they say. Surround the police dept. with protesters and start chanting–hey, hey, ho, ho, Chief Solomon has got to go!


Ever seen the movie “Zulu” (1964)? Remember the part when the Zulus came up to the fort and started singing those weird, otherworldly, terrifying war songs? Remember the response of the British soldiers? They started singing their own songs. That’s how powerful the human mind is, and how powerful music is.


MaryMalone

To be honest, I don’t think there will be the kind of change PR needs until the state steps in, like they did in Bell.


At one point, the Bell criminals were charged for getting a state or federal (or both) loan(s) by submitting false reasons on the loan/grant documents.


It is just something like that which will open the door for an audit so thorough they will know the size of the PR city council’s chonies by the time the audit is over.


pasojim

Sounds like some parrallels can be drawn with the Fema investigation into our city right now.


I am not all that optimistic any thing will come from one government agency investigating another.


SLOBIRD

And then there are the elections. Let’s see who’s man enough to campaign on honesty and integrity which mean getting rid of App and Solomon. Someone, anyone, everyone!


The Gimlet Eye

To hell with the state! Surround city hall and the PD and sing them to death! Have you heard about the “singing revolution” in Estonia? There is not a damn thing that they can do to stop you! Their minds are open and vulnerable to whatever powers you exert upon them.


thinkaboutit

This is the most profound – and concise – post I’ve seen you make yet. Well done.


Crusader

Open letter to members of the Paso Robles City Council:


All five of you are cowards. You all should be ashamed of yourselves. Your time is coming.


Sincerely;


C.


pasoparent5

Looks like Strong gave you a thumbs down. :0


crimevictim

Is “Well-Loved” a new reply option?? If so, I am using it here!


crimevictim

To Crusader– Is “Well-Loved” a new reply option?? If so, I am using it here!


MaryMalone

When Mr. Byrn said that the “sheriff’s deputies assist the city of Paso Robles more than any other municipality in the county,” was he able to report whether the yearly numbers of assists had increased or decreased since Solomon became chief?


MaryMalone

This quote from the article is a slap in the face to Lisa Solomon, Paso Robles’ city council and its city manager.


” ‘The sheriff is aware of the budget issues throughout the county and will assist if resources are available,” Bryn said. Last year in Paso Robles, deputies responded to “30 verified calls total including two requests by CHP due to PRPD not having a unit to back them in their city and one call traffic collision/non-injury that PRPD would not respond to. Deputies handled removing the vehicles from the roadway.’ ”


MaryMalone

QUOTING THE ARTICLE: “Even data from the FBI does not accurately portray the crime levels in Paso Robles because responses to crime in the city by other agencies are not listed under the Paso Robles’ police department’s crime statistics. Rob Bryn, the San Luis Obispo Sheriff department’s public information officer, said that sheriff’s deputies assist the city of Paso Robles more than any other municipality in the county.


These two sentences alone show how horribly under-reported are Chief Lisa Solomon’s crime rate data.


When added to all the other scandals and evidence of poor performance by Solomon, the fact that Lisa Solomon’s police department is run so poorly that the Sheriffs Department has to assist Paso Robles more than any other county municipality indicates Solomon’s performance as chief is a failure.


The fact that the city council members and the city manager continue to support Solomon indicates they are failures, as well.