Paso Robles police safe mode scrapped

June 14, 2012

Acting Chief Robert Burton


A controversial limited response program initiated by the Paso Robles Police Department called “safe mode” has been discontinued.

“The ‘safety and service response level policy’ is no longer in effect,” acting Chief Robert Burton told CalCoastNews in an email this week.

Former Chief Lisa Solomon-Chitty and City Manager James App enacted a police department service reduction plan in January 2011 mandating that officers not respond to a long list of crimes during times the department is short-staffed. The policy was not announced to the public by officials, but was reported by CalCoastNews in February of this year.

Paso Robles had 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 was operating in “safety mode.”

During safety mode, only two patrol officers were available to take calls. Dispatchers would not send an officer to 18 different 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.

Despite the change in policy, department personnel numbers have not changed appreciably during the past 18 months.

According to police sources, one new hire — a police officer trainee — quit abruptly, reportedly after complaining about department policies and procedures.

“One of our police officer trainees did resign his position with the city,” Burton said. “The trainee did not indicate it was due to a perception of the department.”

Over the past three years under Solomon-Chitty, the department thinned considerably from an approved 46 sworn officers in 2007, to 28 officers today.

The department’s current personnel roster includes Capt. Burton, acting chief; two lieutenants; five sergeants; two detectives; 16 patrol officers; one patrol officer trainee; and six part-time reserve officers. Burton said city management has now approved a total of 32 sworn officers, and the department is actively seeking the new hires.

Addressing a variety of programs the department has recently abandoned, Burton said a full-time narcotics and gang officer is on his wish list, and will be assigned “as soon as adequate personnel” are in place.



  1. The Gimlet Eye says:

    Somebody might want to check the video recordings at PR PD:

    Seattle Police Department says that more than 100,000 video recordings from police dash-board cameras have disappeared. [Increasingly, dash-cam videos have been used to expose police brutality, and police departments are reluctant to make them available for public viewing. What more needs to be said? What can be done when police become criminals and criminals become police?] Seattle PI Posted 2012 Jun 23

    (-1) 5 Total Votes - 2 up - 3 down
    • NorthCountyGuy says:

      Erasing videos (to protect his clique of violent criminal buddies) sounds like something that Burton the Bastard would do.

      (1) 1 Total Votes - 1 up - 0 down
  2. Dogpound says:

    Whu=y is this allowed on the site? Shouldn’t the moderator delete this as it has nothing to do with this topic?

    (-3) 5 Total Votes - 1 up - 4 down

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