Police Chief works on report on impacts

As the storm of opinion swirls around Mammoth Lakes and the Town Council proposes to cut seven police officers, Police Chief Dan Watson has made his beliefs known but has not said too much.  He has prepared a report which may come up at Thursday night’s Town Council meeting.

At the beginning of October, Chief Watson said, “Being in a remote location without other law enforcement services nearby, I’m concerned about what this will mean for the safety of our residents, visitors, and officers.”  The Chief now says he was asked to prepare a plan on a reserve/ volunteer program to support the Police Department.  He said it would take time to develop such a program, and it would not offset the loss of seven officers.

As a result of the salvo fired on the police, a number of officers have made plans to retire and to at least apply for jobs elsewhere.  Chief Watson said that there will be “a number of vacancies before next July.”  The Chief said two officers will retire.  Lieutenant John Mair and Officer Jesse Gorham had made their retirements known.  The Chief said that one officer has applied elsewhere and is in background checks.  He said several other officers have also applied to cover their bases.

The Chief is working on a report on how to restructure the department with ten officers, after losing seven.

The Town Council planned to talk about the government re-structuring plan at their meeting Thursday night at 6pm.  The plan is scheduled for discussion as the last item on a somewhat brief agenda.


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14 Responses to Police Chief works on report on impacts

  1. Don October 16, 2012 at 7:56 pm #

    Benett, I certainly hope SOMEONE has crunched numbers to see what it would cost to contract law enforcement out (please post the cost $$$ if its been done). The PD IS GOING UNDER! Or are the elected officials that dumb not even to get an official quote from the Sheriff to see if they can do it cheaper. It would be easier on everybody if we had a contract in place for July 1st.

    • Benett Kessler October 17, 2012 at 11:35 am #

      Mono Sheriff Rick Scholl said the Town has not requested an estimate on a contract with the County.

    • Tim October 17, 2012 at 9:39 pm #

      Any more, a city that has an existing PD finds that it is more expensive to contract out to a Sheriff’s department than it is to run the department. Those that don’t have an existing department usually don’t find it cost efficient to start their own until the town is of a fairly decent size. I really don’t see it as being efficient or possible to have the Sheriff take over the LE responsibilities in a county the size of Mono. They don’t have the mass of deputies that would allow for the flexibility needed. They aren’t LA county where if Maywood goes under the SO can suddenly supply 75 deputies to handle patrol and investigations in a matter of a few weeks or months.

  2. Sean F October 16, 2012 at 8:34 pm #

    We aren’t Stockton and i’m not saying our murder rate will jump overnigt but I think this article foretells the issues we may face if the TC is allowed to destroy the Mammoth Police Dept.


    Operating the PD with 10 Officers is unsafe for them and us and we must force the city to make cuts elsewhere.

  3. High & Dry October 17, 2012 at 8:45 am #

    Where is The Mountain during all of this discussion? Are they not responsible for this? The Mountain created the need for more police here in the first place. The Mountain wanted the airport and tricked the town into going out and buying it for them. The Mountain was behind the breach of contract and now they are sitting back quietly watching as the town is destroyed.

    • Old Business Trick October 17, 2012 at 12:15 pm #

      The Mountain is merely a silent partner of the In-group that runs everything. There was a profit motive from one or more councilmen re: the airport. An illusion has been created that The Mountain has nothing to do with anything.
      This is an old business trick that can razzle-dazzle the dumb townsfolk everytime.

    • Roger Rilling October 18, 2012 at 9:59 pm #

      High & Dry– Yes- the “Bully in Black” has back-stabbed everyone he was ever in business with. Including Dave (yes – that Dave). I made the mistake of thinking that being “just an employee”, kept me safe– I found out different.

  4. Outta Your Mind like Mammoth's Town Council October 17, 2012 at 9:11 am #

    Hey if the Mammoth Town Council has there way, then the citizens of Mammoth should follow the example of the citizens of O’Brien Oregon where they only have Three Sheriff Deputies. The Citizens have formed Armed Posse Patrols to pick up the slack. http://www.lawofficer.com/article/news/armed-posse-patrols-oregons-ti

  5. Mike October 17, 2012 at 1:17 pm #

    Prior to cutting a police department in half and putting the officers/ public at risk, why wouldn’t you get quotes to see how much cheaper the sheriff can do it. amazing!

  6. concerned October 17, 2012 at 5:59 pm #

    think again. I am sad to see an Officer like Gorham leave MLPD. I read an old article about a man who was injecting people with the animal anesthesia Ketamine, and did it to one woman right here on the slopes of mammoth mt. while she was skiing!! wow. Officer Gorham assisted in capturing this guy and bringing him to justice. Just goes to show, when you think youre safe…and to think what its going to be like without good law enforcement around. good luck mammoth. learn how to protect yourself, because the police wont be there to rescue you in a hurry! MONET just made a bust in mammoth, one who was in posession of Ketamine. Just sayin…this S#!T is scary when I think about what will happen to mammoth in the long run…no MONET??? NO cops? Mammoth doesnt feel safe anymore,and is beginning to not feel so much like home. Sad…

  7. Too Much October 18, 2012 at 1:31 pm #

    Oh Please…..

  8. Greg Young October 22, 2012 at 12:12 pm #

    This issue of cutting the police department arose because they represent such a large part of the city budget and nothing to do with whether the department is too large. The issue at hand is the court ordered payment TOML has to pay. We are all affected whether we like it or not and at this point, after making previous cuts to all areas of the budget, the need now is to come up with the money to make the payments.

    So separate the budget issue of running Mammoth Lakes so it remains a viable and safe community from the requirement to pay the settlement. I usually vote no to any new taxes, but I suggest we need a tax or a bond that separates the money needed to pay the settlement from the money needed to run TOML. But if we do this, we must also put restraints on the ability of TOML to go back to overspending. We should maintain the current budget with no changes for a minimum of 3 years or as much as 5, but perhaps require a two-thirds vote for new commitments over a low dollar amount (all to be negotiated and then voted upon). If TOML can maintain its viability it may have an opportunity to improve finances over the next few years if the economy improves. If the economy improves tourists dollars should go up and thus increased taxes will be made because if increased tourism.

    TOML should also consider other remedies to improve income such as industry that is not impactful to our environment. With the advent of the completion of Digital 395 next summer, software industries (as just one example) could be encouraged to locate their development teams in this pristine environment where they work their crazy hours and be able to enjoy our resources in their off hours.

    But cutting Whitmore, cutting police, cutting other basic services will end up cutting our own throats. Do not allow yourselves to get caught up in this need to cut services when we need to face the commitment of paying the settlement with some other income generating solution.

    Here is a comment about outsourcing law enforcement. The Sheriff Department is the only possible entity to fulfill that outsource. There will be no cost savings except to still cut down on the number of personnel to be on the street. The difference between what a Sheriff makes and what a TOML police officer makes is not significant. The Sheriff can only charge the town what it actually costs to fulfill the contract and cannot profit from it. Since the town already has its own department, it is better off maintaining it. I was a Mono County Sheriff in 1984 & 85 and as president of the association at the time was intimately involved in negotiations between the new town and the county for law enforcement. The current manpower is what is needed to provide for a safe community and a safe work environment for the police officers. I assure you, you will not be served to replace full time officers with reservists or volunteers, though they should still be encouraged to supplement the current base line service. It takes 5+ months of academy training to get an individual the “basics” of law enforcement, then 1-3 years street experience to become a decent officer. You do not replace that overnight. The current department has considerable street experience and you are going to lose some of that as a result of the councils threats. Lets not lose all of it. Lets create a budget that all workers, including law enforcement, can count on going forward and lets keep this town viable and safe.

  9. Mitch October 22, 2012 at 6:08 pm #

    Greg, dont deputies make less then their pd counterparts? You also forgot to mention that an SO doesn’t need all of the office staff or the 200k chief. They can delete all that as they have people already doing that Bridgeport and pass all that cost savings onto the town. Easy mil or two

  10. Steve St. Louis October 23, 2012 at 7:20 am #

    This may happen to the town “If it hasn’t happened already” if they cut that many law enforcement positions. Watch! http://d.yimg.com/kq/groups/7769081/124862335/name/Tornado1.wmv


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