Concerns grow over Mammoth police cuts

From the Los Angeles Times to the Mono County Sheriff, more than a few seriously question the severe police cuts proposed by the Mammoth Town Council. The Times, in Mammoth’s major market, reported on fears for safety without police. Mono’s Sheriff said he can’t understand why the Town Council “is not engaging law enforcement to find out about officer safety.”

It’s a controversy that seems to go up a notch every day. Wednesday the Los Angeles Times headline read “Mammoth Lakes proposes laying off half of police force”. The story quotes Sergeant Paul Robles, president of the Mammoth Polices Officers Association. Robles said the main concern of the police is public safety and backup for officers. He said, “The town should worry about that too. If people don’t feel safe they are not going to come to a place that depends on tourism for survival.”

Police Chief Dan Watson has made it clear that he believes the proposed cuts would leave everyone vulnerable. Sheriff Rick Scholl thinks so too. He said the Town has not talked to him about their cuts or if they want Mono to fill in or back up their department. Scholl issued a memo to his staff to “support the police department with their difficult challenges.”

Sheriff Scholl said, “I don’t think the Town Council realizes that if they chase their officers away, it’s not easy to hire new ones, and how many would want to come to work in Mammoth with current conditions?” said the Sheriff. Scholl said there have been no conversations between the Town and County about a law enforcement contract.

The Sheriff has talked with Police Chief Watson who asked if the Sheriff’s Department could supplement the Mammoth Police. Scholl said he told the Chief there’s no guarantee since he’s down three patrolmen and leaning heavily on overtime as it is. He said the CHP has no officers out after 10pm. And, even if Scholl would contract to cover Mammoth, he said, “I would never allow fewer than two officers to be on duty.”

Of a seven-officer cut, Scholl said it would “create liability for the Town and put people in unsafe situations.” Mammoth Councilmen have not named any source of information or research that led them to their police proposal of a ten-officer department for the Town of Mammoth Lakes.  Sheriff Scholl, who worked in the Mammoth Lakes Police Department in 1986 when there were 15 officers, said he doesn’t see how the department could function with any less than 26 years ago.



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44 Responses to Concerns grow over Mammoth police cuts

  1. Reality bites again October 10, 2012 at 5:16 pm #

    Typical Town of Mammoth, failure to investigate prior to implementation.
    I wonder if this is Just a scare tactic.

  2. Big Rick OB October 10, 2012 at 6:15 pm #

    I am totally blown away to learn that the (current) MLPD has fewer officers than it did 26 years ago, especially taking into consideration the growth that the town has seen in the past 2 decades. A police dept. is suppose to GROW along with the town that they are sworn to protect, not SHRINK down to nothin’. This would NEVER happen in Aspen, Park City, or Telluride. Why is it happening here ?

    • Benett Kessler October 10, 2012 at 6:32 pm #

      Under the proposed cuts, the MLPD would have ten officers. In 1986, the department had 15. Right now, they have 17.

  3. Tim October 10, 2012 at 10:14 pm #

    Law enforcement is needed in every town. With the winter season Coming upon all of us and the people who come to the mountain to enjoy the snow. Those people and the locals who party tend to get a little loose and get out of control and who get unrulley need the local law enforcement fully staffed to keep the peace and the drunk drivers off the road. At the end of the day chief Watson can do the job he was asked to do. Protect us and keep the peace

  4. longtimesierralocal October 11, 2012 at 6:42 am #

    Dont cut the police officers ,with winter coming and all the tourists coming up soon we need to keep this town safe !!!!

  5. Jeremiah's Alter Ego October 11, 2012 at 7:47 am #

    Law enforcement is needed in every town, I agree but I also know stuff like this happens all to often . It happens all to often cause the police know us regulars don’t have any power, when all they have to say it was necessary force.

  6. john Delgado October 11, 2012 at 7:54 am #

    Get rid of the Unionized force and replace it with a mean, lean, efficient Non-Unionized Force 🙂

    • Ken Warner October 11, 2012 at 9:29 am #

      You don’t have a clue do you? Where does your imaginary peace officer force come from? This isn’t a movie. There are no super-hero’s just waiting for the Bat Signal.

      Or maybe you think we can hire some Green Cards and snowboarders from New Zealand for the Winter. Yeah, that’s the ticket. Just arm the snowboarders.

    • Sara October 11, 2012 at 10:14 am #

      John, you’re right. The unions are ruining this country. They were certainly needed 50 years ago, but not today. I’ve listened to the chief come up with every rebuttal possible to keep the force as is, but he offers no alternative solution to help the town. His focus is on the cops, period. Why are they paid much, much more than other towns similar to ours? I know we need them, but lets be honest here; this isn’t a high-crime town. Cut some cops, fire a town manager and maybe a lift ticket tax? God, this is a mess! People on here talk about recalling the council, but who the heck is going to step in? I certainly wouldn’t, because no matter who it is and what decision they make, they will be bashed. Michael was the only guy who ran recently. Clearly no one in town is willing to take this on.

      • Fat Cats October 11, 2012 at 1:27 pm #

        Sara, in tough times if there was no collective bargaining, the fat-cats would get even fatter.
        The little guys are getting screwed right and left.

  7. JeanGenie October 11, 2012 at 10:42 am #

    28 years ago, Mammoth was unincorporated, and had 0 police officers, we all felt safe. Everyone keeps returning to “drunk and unruly”. Just like the skate park in Bishop, this should be controlled before it becomes a law enforcement issue. It is already illegal to serve people who are already drunk, those who provide alcohol to drunks can be held liable for their bad behavior, so bars, restaurants, and liquor stores should be held accountable. Like I said in an earlier post, “come on vacation, leave on probation”, maybe Mammoth should discourage people from partying like rock stars, rather than encouraging out of control partying and then arresting the participants!

  8. JeanGenie October 11, 2012 at 10:46 am #

    PS: CHP doesn’t patrol after 10pm? I find that hard to believe, and if its true, thats crazy!

    • Benett Kessler October 11, 2012 at 12:34 pm #

      That’s what Sheriff Scholl told us. Benett

      • Big Rick OB October 11, 2012 at 5:34 pm #

        The Sheriff (forgot) to mention that his OWN department goes 10-7 from 1am to 5am. Deputies will respond in an emergency, but will be doing so from their homes.

    • Reality Bites October 11, 2012 at 5:15 pm #

      The CHP contract stipulates that they cannot work past 10:00 PM unless they are in a two man car for officer safety reasons.

      The Mammoth Town Council wants officers to work alone all the time!

    • Big AL October 13, 2012 at 1:32 am #

      Jean, they do patrol .. but it is only one unit with two officers doubled up.

  9. ferdinand lopez October 11, 2012 at 11:24 am #

    crack down on the drunks and drug addicts and traffickers and you remove the domestic violence and theft problems

  10. Samantha October 11, 2012 at 1:47 pm #

    The Mammoth Police Department never responded to any call-ins anyways so I honestly don’t see the loss

    • Reality Bites October 11, 2012 at 5:12 pm #

      Samantha, its time to change out the HEPA filter in your crack pipe.

  11. K Irvine October 11, 2012 at 2:14 pm #

    California is not a right to work state. Police officers, actors, teachers, football players, nurses, and grocery store clerks all have the right to organize and collectively bargain salaries, benefits and working conditions. Labor agreements protect employees from arbitrary decisions by management. Many seem to resent these union protections because they no longer have them. Our police officers are simply exercising their legal rights to organize and collectively bargain with the Town. A Town that not long ago seem to appreciate them but has now turned against them. Perhaps its time to recall our Council and replace them with people who understand the importance of maintaining law and order in a resort community with a large transient population.

    • Lifetime Mammoth Local October 11, 2012 at 10:21 pm #

      I would like to say thanks to all members of the Mammoth Lakes Town Council for taking the bull by the horns. Kudos to the Mammoth Lakes Town Council for coming up with a solution to a problem that was inherited not created. The solution to the current problem is much greater than just letting a few cops go. The Mammoth Lakes Police Department has done a wonderful job, unfortunately Mammoth Lakes is incorporated and should be managed like a business.

    • Devout Liberal October 12, 2012 at 6:56 am #

      K. Irvine,

      GREAT IDEA !!

  12. Pray for Snow October 11, 2012 at 4:53 pm #

    WOW… You read all of these post and you would think Mammoth is a crime riddled transient town full of drunks running around like Mad Max.
    Where are these people? Hyde? Ocean Club? Rafters? Gringos? Las Sierra’s???

    NOPE… All those clubs full of drunks are no longer in business, just like Mammoth and the MLPD are going to be if we keep up this behavior.

    We talk about all the need for law and order with a resort community and transient population, does anyone pay attention to the people that come to Mammoth on these big weekends and holidays? THEY ARE FAMILIES with CHILDREN. GO look at Whollywood and look at the 1000’s of children the MMSA teaches and watches at daycare.

    All those children have fathers and mothers and they are taking their children to Gomez’s or Giovanni’s or cooking them a meal at home. They are not thugs running crazy in the streets smashing beer bottles on the other guests that are having a nice meal at Nevado’s or Charthouse.

    What town are some of you living in? Why can’t MLPD have a sworn reserve officers to volunteer their time on these crazy drunk fueled weekends? I have lived in Mammoth for 30 years and never seen this madness you all discuss and it is not because of the iron fist of MLPD. It is because good honest people come to Mammoth to enjoy all we have to offer.

    Let’s be real about this madness. The more we discuss Mammoth not being safe because we are going to only have 10 officers vs. 17 or the 28 we “ need” is only continue to hurt the tourism and the very families and children we so desperately need. These families will be safe on the crazy weekends because they will be sleeping excited for the next day on the slopes like 98% of the town. And the 10 sworn officers along with the CHP and Sherriff can handle the 2 or 3 people that get out of hand.

    • Sara October 11, 2012 at 8:48 pm #

      Pray for Snow, you’re the only person on here who makes sense!!!!

    • Ken Warner October 12, 2012 at 4:29 am #

      “Why can’t MLPD have a sworn reserve officers to volunteer their time on these crazy drunk fueled weekends? ”

      Yeah, why should we pay someone when we can get someone else to work for free! Brilliant! Why don’t we apply that logic to the town government and every business in town. Just get volunteers. Problem solved!

      “You read all of these post and you would think Mammoth is a crime riddled transient town full of drunks running around like Mad Max.
      Where are these people? ”

      The Mammoth Lakes Police Department handles hundreds of felony assaults, rapes, robberies, domestic violence, and burglaries. In 2011 alone, the department handled 7,422 incidents which required police action; of the 7,422 incidents, 3,154 of them were radio calls.

      • Pray for Snow October 12, 2012 at 9:58 am #

        Have you done the simple math on your 3154 radio calls in 2011 alone???

        3154 divided by 365 days a year = 8.6 calls per day. WOW!!!

        So every day there is possibly 1 radio call every 3 hours.

        So average 8 MLPD officers work 2, 12hr shifts for a 24 day. So each officer on a 12 hr shift gets 1 radio call per DAY.

        That is the average, so I can only assume that a good majority of those calls come on big holiday weekends when people are calling into the MLPD for noise complaints because some college kids are playing their music to loud at Sierra Park Villas or in the Village because people are making noise at the pool/jacuzzi area or a visitor see’s a bear rummaging thru the dumpster.

        And I would bet that half of those calls are from the same 2 or 3 people that call because they hate when visitors come to town.

        We definitely need to have more officers.

        • Mammothite October 12, 2012 at 10:19 am #

          One of these radio calls can end up with many hours of report writing, evidence collection, followup investigation including witness and suspect interviews, booking and transportation of an arrested subjects to Bridgeport, court testimony, etc.

          Also in between radio calls proactive policing results in arrests, report writing, booking and transportation,evidence collection, court testimony etc. There are plenty of other tasks officers do during the day that are not captured in stats.

          I would like to see a chart showing how many radio calls, reports and arrests there were in 1986 to 1990 when the Department had 15 officers to the last four years.

          By your logic, if a 10 man Department that takes less reports and makes less arrests, means that crime has gone down, not the fact that they simply don’t have the time to take all the reports that come in or make any proactive arrests.

        • Ken Warner October 12, 2012 at 11:15 am #

          “so I can only assume”

          That’s all you seem to be able to do — assume. Just make up a fairy tale and then chide everybody else for not believing it.

          In you mind, how many calls a day would justify 17 sworn officers. I’m sure you have a number. And would you want to live in Mammoth if the crime rate was — in you mind — enough to justify 17 sworn officers?

          And maybe there is (only) 8.5 calls a day because we have 17 sworn officers.

          What do you have against an effective Police Dept.? Did you get a ticket once and are still pissed off?

      • JeanGenie October 12, 2012 at 10:22 am #

        Ken, Reserve officers get paid, but they only work when they are needed.

        • Outta Your Mind like Joe Biden October 12, 2012 at 12:29 pm #

          Not all Departments pay Reserve Police Officers.

        • Mammothite October 12, 2012 at 2:02 pm #

          Reserve officers only work when they can fit it into their schedule.

          To do the same job as a Police Officer, (Level 1 Reserve) they would have to go throuh a 5-6 month academy away from home (who would pay for that?) and then be put in a 3 month FTO (Field Training Officer) program.

          So they would have to take 9 months off from work and then come back and work for free.

          This is the brilliant plan that MMM and council came up with? Lets go take a picture of people lining up at the front door of MLPD to sign up!

        • Ken Warner October 12, 2012 at 3:10 pm #

          Why tell me. I know that the idea of reserve officers working for free is nonsense. Tell it to the people who think that’s a good idea

    • upthecreek October 12, 2012 at 10:14 am #

      @Pray For Snow

      “What town are some of you living in? Why can’t MLPD have a sworn reserve officers to volunteer their time on these crazy drunk fueled weekends? I have lived in Mammoth for 30 years and never seen this madness you all discuss and it is not because of the iron fist of MLPD.”

      Why?? because we have a Police union That says they can’t.

      Govt. Gone Wild

    • JeanGenie October 12, 2012 at 10:25 am #

      Pray for snow, I agree, although since I haven’t lived in Mammoth for years and don’t hang out in bars, I couldn’t speak to the “problem” of alcohol fueled crime.

  13. Mike J October 11, 2012 at 10:58 pm #

    Pray for Snow…you have lived here for 30 years and making these comments? What rock do you live under? Do you read the news at all? Why don’t you go on a ride-along with the police on a busy weekend night until about 4 in the morning and see if you still feel that our town can be policed by volunteers or reserve officers. I have been on ride alongs, and I wouldn’t even want to do or see what our officers have to deal with even if I was getting paid. I think you would be enlightened and surprised by what most people never see.

  14. Outta Your Mind like Joe Biden October 12, 2012 at 8:43 am #

    Some of you who think the CHP should step in and Police Mammoth Lakes don’t realize that the CHP does not contract out to police cities. The only dept that would do that is the Sheriff’s Dept on a regular basis and that is if the Sheriff allows it.

    • Impermanence of all things October 12, 2012 at 3:12 pm #

      “Outta Your Mind” reminds me of that angst-ridden political group today that is having difficulty with The Impermanence of all things – Change. They call themselves conservatives. Just what it is that this group thinks it’s conserving is a mystery. What comes to mind is the opening scene from the masterpiece film from Stanley Kubrick – 2001: A Space Odyssey. Early man “evolves” with the notion of clubbing their prey to maintain their dominence.
      When you see the childishness in this movement’s m.o. with their insults, aggressive behavior, war-mongering, and “Right is right!” fight song it is clear that some amongst us have not evolved very far.
      They have not and cannot accept The New Norm today and are on their way to extinction.

      • Jeremiah's Alter Ego October 15, 2012 at 8:57 am #

        Hahahahaha, Yes Yes I love it. That’s the party some are voting for, Why?
        Why do all I see is conservative posters in the valley when in reality there is no real conservatives in DC?
        Leave it too Mainstream media and the endless amounts of money it takes to portray a candidate to be electable.

  15. Mike October 12, 2012 at 9:45 pm #

    I say keep the 17 cops and let them take a PAY CUT like the rest have had to at some point in our careers.

  16. Trouble October 13, 2012 at 10:25 am #

    Maybe when the cut backs come, we will actually feel a little more free to be who we want to be. Kind of like when we grew up.

  17. concerned October 14, 2012 at 3:41 pm #

    Great! The LA Times caught wind of the cuts in Mammoth and is broadcasting it on the front page. The wrong people will catch wind of the weakening law enforcement in Mammoth. Might as well put it on blast, “Hey, come to Mammoth, we don’t have any cops her, it’s a free for all!”

    • Bill October 14, 2012 at 7:12 pm #

      LA Times should do their job and report more on the raping and pillaging of our water resources in the Owens Valley and Long Valley by their very own LADWP!!!!

  18. concerned October 14, 2012 at 3:42 pm #

    And seriously, who hires an “expert” Auxillary Town Manager who knows nothing about the town in the first place?

  19. concerned October 15, 2012 at 4:36 pm #

    Lifetime Mammoth Local- just another excuse by saying the problem was inherited not created. Once again, the public officials are not being held responsible for their actions, and it’s poor them, they are merely the victims of an inherited problem. Grow up and be accountable for your poor town management. Typical politics, when something goes wrong,no one is responsible, but when something goes right, everyone wants credit. The arrogant attitude of the Town Council members, among their ineptitude.


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