Mammoth’s Police Chief and POST, the state commission known as Police Officers Standards and Training have now issued analyses of Town officials’ proposal to cut 7 officers and minimum needs for the town protection. These reports were just going on to the Town website at about 4pm before Wednesday night’s Council meeting. Few citizens would have had time to absorb the data. See the Chief’s statement below this story and see all the new documents, including the POST report here –
http://www.ci.mammoth-lakes.ca.us/index.aspx?NID=498 . Go down to October 3, 2012 documents and click on them. MLPD Management study is the POST report.
The POST report on the Mammoth Police Department recommends “no fewer than 17 sworn officers” this fiscal year. Their report says freeze things as they are and develop a service delivery plan to determine future needs of numbers of police based on real data. POST recommends a base of 20 sworn officers as a starting point for creating a staffing profile, with a long-term goal of 25 sworn officers and 4 non-sworn. Their report details numbers of calls and crimes and requirements on current police.
POST notes that in comparison cities, population does not triple and quadruple with skiers as Mammoth Lakes does. POST also notes that Mammoth Lakes Police operate in a remote location where immediate back-up is not available from other local agencies.
Mammoth Police Chief Dan Watson issued a two page statement of impacts from restructuring. He says that 15 of Mammoth’s 17 sworn staff are assigned to patrol. This means two on duty, 2am to 9pm. From 9pm until 2am, four officers work the busiest hours of the day.
Chief Watson says the proposal to reduce the MLPD to 10 sworn personnel will mean 7 officers for patrol instead of 15. Only one officer will be on duty a number of days of the week. Chief Watson says it is his opinion that this scenario “puts the safety of visitors, residents, and officers at risk.” The cuts, he says, will mean delays in response and some incidents won’t result in a police response. Watson goes on to say, “We can anticipate an increase in illegal drug activity, juvenile crime and at-risk behavior by youth.” He says there will be less preventative patrol and less visibility of the police throughout the Town. Traffic enforcement and DUI enforcement will be reduced. Service responses of all kinds won’t happen. Neither will current protections for Mammoth Hospital, Mammoth School District and Mammoth Mountain Ski Area.
More was expected at Wednesday night’s meeting, but it’s not until the last item on the agenda.