Paso Robles’ police protection dwindling

February 4, 2012

EDITOR’S NOTE: See Paso Robles Police sworn officers: a current list of department sworn staff; and Paso Robles’ Service Reduction Plan, a mandated plan for reduced police services at the bottom of this story.

By KAREN VELIE and DANIEL BLACKBURN

Rattled by a recent spike in violent crime, several Paso Robles police officers are questioning the impact the department’s current policy of not always responding to some criminal activities is having on public safety.

Paso Robles has been operating under a reduced police presence for the past year, with stringent new policies requiring that officers not respond to reports of drug activity, driving under the influence, and incidents of vehicular hit and run, whenever the department is operating in “safety mode.”

City Manager Jim App and Chief Lisa Solomon enacted a police department service reduction plan in January 2011 that mandates officers not respond to a long list of crimes during times the department is short-staffed. In addition, the plan changes some day-to-day police response and investigation policies.

For example, during the past year, property thefts with a loss of of $10,000 or less — if not solved immediately by the responding patrol officer — are not forwarded to a detective for further investigation, according to the plan.

“They have taken away officer discretion,” said one officer who asked to remain unnamed to protect him from retaliation. “It (the service reduction plan) is absolutely affecting public safety.”

Due to budget cuts, the department has been thinned from an approved 46 sworn officers in 2007, to 26 officers today.

As a result, the department operated in safety response mode for 587 hours during the past 12 months, said Jim App, the city manager.

That was because of a prior hiring freeze, minus several officers who were placed on paid administrative leave for between four to six months each, and officers who retired or were forced to resign.

During safety mode, only two patrol officers are available to take calls. Dispatchers do not send an officer to 18 types of crimes including battery that is not in progress, theft reports when a suspect is not in custody, drug activity, family disturbances and DUI calls.

“The safety/service response levels were implemented to ensure safety to the public and officers,” App said. “It allows for delayed response to low-level service calls in order to maintain staffing for immediate response to emergency or in-progress calls for service.”

App said he informed city council members of the reduction in services not long after the new program was put into practice.

Councilman Ed Steinbeck said he agrees “that we need to prioritize calls depending on what else is happening at the moment.”

Nevertheless, several officers claim that while Solomon has reduced drug and DUI responses, she is reprimanding officers who do not write enough high-dollar traffic tickets to comply with a questionable ticket quota system further reducing their ability to combat drug and gang activity.

During the past year, Paso Robles’ violent and gang-related crimes have soared with a rash of drug and/or gang-related crimes, including murders, stabbings, robberies, assaults and drive-by shootings.

As a result, officials last year organized a multi-agency task force with a goal of identifying and arresting gang members. During Labor Day weekend, law enforcement personnel including San Luis Obispo County Sheriff deputies blanketed Paso Robles as they rolled out their “Safe Streets” campaign, making 35 arrests and issuing 30 traffic citations.

“We will bring together all resources at my disposal and introduce additional law enforcement partners, including FBI, California Highway Patrol, Monterey County Sheriffs, Probation and Parole, as well as enhancing our local gang task force,” said Sheriff Ian Parkinson during a press conference he held with Solomon in September. “I do not intend to allow this kind of activity in the North County.”

Sheriff department officials did not respond to numerous requests for information regarding the current disposition of the Safe Street campaign and how much assistance the top county law enforcement agency is providing the understaffed Paso Robles Police department.

County wide, law enforcement agencies are short-staffed, mostly by one or two officers. Even so, officials with the county’s other six cities said their police departments are not operating under service reduction plans or safety modes.

 

Paso Robles Police Department sworn officers:

Currently, the Paso Robles Police Department includes 26 sworn officers:

1 chief
1 captain
2 lieutenants
5 sergeants
2 detectives
13 patrol officers
2 patrol officer trainees

 

Paso Robles’ Service Reduction Plan:

PPDSRMemorandum


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ApathyWillKillYou

I was saddened to hear of Bob Cuddy of the SLO Tribune’s sudden and unexpected passing.


Original reports were that he choked on one of the ‘five dollar’ words that he recently began using.


But in an odd twist the autopsy revealed that the cause of death was acute inhalation of swamp gas.


The Tribune has refused to print his obituary until several facts and freedom of information requests are verified, which could take years.


Typoqueen

This post is extremely offensive. If I were in charge of this place it would be taken down.


standup

And thank God you are not in charge.


pasoparent5

Typo, It’s just a joke…like Adam Hill’s prank call. Just a joke.


Typoqueen

Adam didn’t talk about someones death. It’s sad as well as very telling that the mod is lettting it stay in here.


zaphod

moderator please improve the joke by posting it in comic san-seif ! just for Typoqueen.

the joke, he didn’t say he wanted MrC.dead that would be a bridge too far.


MaryMalone

Jesus H. Christ.


TQ is obsessed with controlling what opinions are expressed here. You feed her fat ego and control-freak mentality when you acquiesce to her tiresome whining about ANYTHING she does not believe in.


They are just words. The only power they have is the power you give them, and the power you allow TQ to tell you they have.


You may be her next target. Maybe you don’t mind if TQ defines what we can see here on this message board, but I think many of the rest of us do.


Typoqueen

Oh geez Mary, you are frustrating. If I were defining what anyone sees here things would be a little different. I find his comment in poor taste so now I have a fat ego, I’m a control freak, I’m whining, you can be quite nasty can’t you. You’ve said some pretty stupid things but I haven’t resorted to those types of insults (as tempting as it might have been). Trust me, I’m not defining what zap or anyone else sees in this forum. After congressman Gifford was shot it reminded me how much power words have, so yeah I’m a little sensitive about that and I wish others were as well. I don’t have special powers Mary. So far I’ve been unable to convince anyone in this forum to take a deep breath and wait for more info before stating slanderous remarks about Solomon and I was unable to get the mod to remove the death post so calm down.


MaryMalone

Since when is either Adam or Cuddy the arbiter of what is appropriate on a message board or not?


The Gimlet Eye

Your comments say more about you than the moderator.


slowtime

Cool it Typoqueen, you might get sent to the bottom of the posts again…lol


Typoqueen

Hmmm, okay, whatever.


danika

I was not offended like TQ was but not find humor in it. I think it’s a joke done it poor taste.


zaphod

I am crying ONION tears over this LOL !

Mr.Cuddy, when you are throwing dirt you are losing ground

LONG LIVE CALCOASTNEWSDOTCOM

swampgas is my new rock band name


Cindy

Swampgas is a cool name for a rock band and A$$ GAS is an appropriate name for he who pulls sophomoric “hit pieces” out of his posterior. Let the names, begin! From today and forward, Mr Cuddy shall be known as………


Crusader

I now refer to Cuddy as “Cesspool Solids” but “A$$ Gas” is pretty good also…


moderator

Cuddy, Bob, or Mr.Cuddy, any deviation goes in the trash, we don’t make fun of names here, its a long standing policy, no making/having fun with names in comments


Cindy

Bob Cuddy called Karen Velie a PIG. I’m calling for an exception where A$$ Gas is concerned. If you won’t make an exception, then I hereby declare that Bob Cuddy’s “opinions”, from this day forward will be refereed to as A$$ gas.


danika

I have to question this…we can make a joke about someone’s fake DEATH but not his name? Seriously??? Is Bobby okay if you used to change his diapers?


Typoqueen

Sooo funny!


Crusader

It was Solomon’s job to ensure the PRPD remained at full or near full staffing! First of all, why did so many officers leave the job? Is it due to her? Second, during a hiring freeze it is her job to work with the city manager and city council to ensure staffing levels are maintained in a service like public safety. She’s simply not doing her job.


MaryMalone

Has her pay decreased, along with the decrease in staff she has to supervise? Is she going out on calls to pick up the slack?


The Gimlet Eye

Good questions, Crusader. You know, getting the truth out of most politicians is about like twisting somebody’s arm, or pulling teeth to get them to fuss up. In many cases, you will NEVER get the truth out of them no matter what you do about them or to them.


To these types, politics is NOT ABOUT THE TRUTH. It is a magic show, illusion, sleight of hand, show biz. Another way of looking at it is that it’s about CONTROL. If they lose control of the situation, then in their eyes, they lose. And if they lose, they cannot get what they want.


That’s where INTIMIDATION comes in, combined with the lies, obfuscations, disinformation, evasions, excuses, stonewalling, silence, retaliation, scape goating, and so on.


Instead of spending so much time in the hot tub fondling PD officers, the Chief should have spent some time reading Machiavelli and Shakespeare.


pasoparent5

http://www.ksby.com/news/cal-coast-news-releases-internal-memo-of-paso-robles-police-dept-s-safety-plan/#!prettyPhoto/0/


After watching KSBY’s interview w/Lisa Solomon, I cut & pasted the above link from my browser on the KSBY website. Note the last two words: “prettyPhoto” LOL!


Anyway at 2:49 there’s a great Lisa quote. Dressed as professionally as ever, in another frilly pink blouse, she says: “These are difficult times. And difficult times…uh…takes [sic] courage in leadership.”


pasoparent5

*from* the KSBY website.


Jack L

The Chief’s credibility is gone, non existent. Time for changing of the guards.


If the city does not come to grips with all their current woes, it will became a smaller version of Salinas


Spirit Filled

Or Santa Maria


MaryMalone

I don’t live in SM but, from what I know about the policing activities of SM compared to PR, is that at least SM still goes out on calls.


I think the leadership in both cities’ PDs needs to be changed, and that many of the problems in both cities is due to poor leadership.


It’s just that Lisa Solomon is so pathetically worse as a chief than is Macagni.


The Gimlet Eye

I’m sure that you are right, MaryMalone. But it’s also poor citizenship. The citizens are the REAL government. When they abdicate, everything goes to hell.


The people involved can be brought to heel if enough people have the will to make it happen.


Crusader

Had a strong/competent chief been hired when Solomon was, PR would be a safer and nicer place to live today. Shame on those who enable/enabled her.


standup

Witnessed a collision at the intersection of 6th and Spring the other day. No one got hurt, but the vehicles were blocking the road. 911 was called immediately and they asked if anyone was injured. Since no one was they took there sweet 14 minutes to get there. Luckily the vehicles could be pushed/limped to the side of the road, however, the police didn’t know that. Good thing another accident didn’t happen because of this one blocking the road. It is only about 3 blocks to the station from there. One would think someone could get off their ass and assist.


slowtime

I just watched Chief Solomon on the 11 oclock news. She insists the city is safe with current staffing. Solomon states:”Yes, absolutely. I think an important thing is to look at the city’s crime statistics. In fact, total part one crimes which are the major crimes that are measured across the country, are the lowest they’ve been in ten years…”

If this is really true, current staffing is good enough. Don’t hire anymore. They are not needed. Save the City some money. Ah, the lies continue. The more she speaks and back-pedals, the more we see the truth.


Crusader

So the gang problem I have been hearing about for the last 7-8 years really doesn’t exist up there in Paso?


danika

Absolutely NOT! The tagging / graffiti that appears on my office wall, dumpster, and electrical pannel is a figment of my imagination.


Cindy

“Paso Robles crime statistics report an overall upward trend in crime based on data from 11 years with violent crime increasing and property crime increasing. Based on this trend, the crime rate in Paso Robles for 2012 is expected to be higher than in 2009.”


“In 2009 the city violent crime rate in Paso Robles was lower than the violent crime rate in California by 32.53% and the city property crime rate in Paso Robles was higher than the property crime rate in California by 16.83%.”

2012 City Rating .Com http://www.cityrating.com/crime-statistics/california/paso-robles.html


This trend continued in 2010 with (95 incidents) violent crime remaining the same but property crime increased by 9.01% (1016 reported incidents equates to 1 in every 29 inhabitants were victimized) with Paso Robles still far above the property crime rate in California. (2010 Stats located at http://www.city-data.com/city/Paso-Robles-California.html)


The 2011 stats are not yet posted however consider the first statement on page 2 of Solomon’s January 2011 memorandum. Property crimes of less than $10,000 will be deactivated unless they are solved by the responding Patrol Officer. This means if the PRPD respond to a call for damage or theft of property and don’t solve it at the time of the call, there will be no further action. If the case is activated with a call and immediately deactivated with a failure to solve it, I have to wonder if an immediate deactivation would render the crime as void and therefore not a reported statistic?


danika

I just watched Chief Solomon on the 5 am KSBY news tell me, basically, that my office in the city is safe. Reallty, Lisa? Hourly drug deals in my parking lot, armed robbery, kidnapping, attempted rape, not one but TWO bomb threats, 2 drive by shootings, a known drug house….all within 2 blocks of my office and your officers do NOT respond to my calls. Forgive me if I don’t get that “safe” feeling.


You, madam, are a piece of work.


Typoqueen

Geez, sounds like Afghanistan.


danika

Maybe there is a “Spring Street” in Afghanistan, who knows.


Mr. Holly

BS. If she thinks the city is safe then she really has to go. This makes it quite obvious that she is and always has been a puppet for App. This is just an example of sacrificing the safety of police officers and the citizens to justify having enough money for the high pay that administrators get and enough for the pet projects of the politicians. Politics at its best.


SLOBIRD

Well, of course crime is down. You silly people! IF THE CRIME IS NOT RESPONDED TO, THEN NO REPORT IS MADE AND THEREFORE NO STAT IS ACCUMULATED… Smart Lisa, what a clever way to reduce crime, you deserve a raise. Don’t respond to domestic violence (crime down), drug deals (crime down), traffic accidents no one hurt, exchange insurance info (crime down), robbery, not in progress (crime down) – give Lisa another raise, she’s doing a great job. Staff reduce to minial needs, cost saving to the City, give Lisa another raise. Officers required to make quota in writing high end tickets, more revenue for the County and City, oh for sure, give Lisa another raise, she’s generating County and City revenue, are you sure $230,000 is enough for this outstanding employee… LOL


Crusader

Absolutely…


You should expand what you said above just a bit and read it into the record (as well as submit a copy to the clerk) Tuesday night at the city council meeting.


MaryMalone

She’s too concerned with which subordinates’ hoo-hoos she’s going to grab next.


Pathetic, faded, bloated beauty queens have their priorities, you know.


MaryMalone

How do they know what crimes are being committed if they don’t go out on calls?


Cindy

I’ve seen many Citizens mention that the current Chief of Police did not emerge as a top qualified candidate when she was promoted to the position of one of the most critical and highest compensated Executive Administrator serving the Citizens of Paso Robles. In fact, apparently, challengers were not welcome and no comparative analysis was considered in filling this TOP position. I wondered what impressive qualifications Lisa Solomon might have possessed that would not only exclusively fast track her into this prized position, but would also exclude her from the challenge of other competitive, interested applicants as this position is not only highly honored but returns the highest salary allotted any Police Chief in the entire County! Surely, the city manager (and City Council) were aware that it was his duty (Mr. App) to interview and select the best of the best on behalf of the taxpayers he serves, a feet that was easily attainable considering the position and competitive compensation package?


While I commend Lisa Solomon for achieving a higher education, I’m shocked when I consider her background as compared to many of her qualified peers. Lisa attended the on line University of La Verne and graduated with her BS degree in Organizational Management in 2003. This degree was achieved through meeting the requirements of completing 5 elective classes and 8 core classes, some of which included credit for “a focus on immediate application in the work setting, and an opportunity for student research.” The on line University offers a Bachelor of Science Degree obtained at the completion of 52 units (4 per class) or 13 classes. That’s it FOLKS!!!!!!!


http://laverne.edu/catalog/program/bs-organizational-management/


I wonder what other superior skills she had/has ???


Crusader

You raise some exceedingly important questions that simply can no longer go unanswered. PR would have had several very qualified and seasoned candidates applying for the job had it been opened to the public.


Solomon’s education is a joke. Compare her degree requirements to any undergrad graduating from Cal Poly. The differences are stunning. I think it’s important for the formation of ANY future olice chief to spend some time in actual academia and not simply a handful of on-line “classes.”


Something very rotten is going on in Paso and it needs to stop for the good of the city AND the county. It needs to stop now.


Mr. Holly

What other superior skills? LIPS


MaryMalone

And knee pads.


Crusader
Jack L

What a degraded system. I assume the citizens do not want to pay for more services from all the comments I read here about being upset concerning city costs funded by taxpayers. If the current chief is not issuing CCWs to those law abiding citizens who feel they want one, then it is a textbook case of LE ego over safety. Not everyone wants a CCW but for those who meet state qualifications, they should be allowed to have one within city limits as well as country territory. After reading all the calls that will not have a LE response to, it only makes sense and that’s the very reason for them.


Good luck people of Paso. It appears it’s now each person for themselves.


Crusader

I agree with you about the CCW issue. I’m also disappointed that such comments rarely include other recommendations in addition to (not in place of) carrying a concealed gun.


Things like self-defense training. How about learning to use pepper spray? If someone was truly concerned about staying safe they would be looking at all of these resources.