Mono DA says Mammoth police cuts will have “negative consequences”

To Mammoth’s handling of crime, Mono County District Attorney Tim Kendall said, “Eliminating positions and reducing your police force is not the answer.”

Mono County’s top prosecutor has officially gone on record in a written memo to say that the Mammoth Town Council’s plan to cut seven police officer positions will result in “nothing but negative consequences.” (See entire memo below story.)

Mono District Attorney Tim Kendall sent that memo to the Mammoth Town Council October 23rd. In it he says that he appreciates the Council’s difficult financial situation, but Kendall said he is “gravely concerned” about the proposed elimination of police positions. The DA says he sees “nothing but negative consequences resulting from this proposal.” Kendall says as DA it is his responsibility to protect the community and crime victims.

DA Kendall points out that when officers can not immediately respond to crimes due to a lack of manpower, law enforcement attention can not be given to a victim and “crucial evidence will not be collected and will be lost.” Kendall said that quick response to a crime scene is “paramount to any successful prosecution.” The DA went so far as to say that “almost 100% of crimes get solved, prosecuted and result in convictions when there is a quick law enforcement response.”

Kendall writes to the Mammoth Town Council that “A gutted police department will have neither the time nor bodies to complete a timely investigation. Crimes will go unsolved,” he said, “and victims (a large percentage of whom are tourists) will never see justice or be made whole again.” The DA says that visitors will walk away dissatisfied with the system and with Mammoth. Said DA Kendall, “This is not the image for Mammoth Lakes.”

Beyond that, Kendall wrote that the lack of safety is “one of the primary reasons why cities, towns and neighborhoods decline. If a neighborhood is unsafe,” he said, “people don’t buy there. If your business is located in an unsafe area, your business will fail. If our town is unsafe,” said Kendall, “people will not come here.”

Kendall said his office already assists the Mammoth Lakes Police Department as much as possible on case investigations and will continue to do so, but he states that elimination of Mammoth police positions will “task my office with a tremendous increase in case investigations and the difficulty of piecing cases together.”

The DA said his office will do the best they can to serve Mammoth, but he does not see his office hiring additional investigators. The DA concludes his letter by saying that crime will always exist and the question is how will Mammoth handle it. Said Kendall, “Eliminating positions and reducing your police force is not the answer.”



October 23, 2012

Mammoth Lakes Town Council:

Re: Proposal to eliminate positions at the Mammoth Lakes Police Department

Honorable Town Council:

Thank you in advance for considering my comments in this very difficult situation that you now face.  I know your priority is to serve the overall best interest of the town and I for one greatly appreciate the difficulty of that responsibility.  That being said, I am gravely concerned, as I know you are, to the proposed elimination of positions to the Police Department.  From both a law enforcement perspective as well as a community perspective based on our tourist destination, I see nothing but negative consequences resulting from this proposal. I know the town council has to juggle many issues but unlike the council, I, as your District Attorney have only one top priority and that is to protect the community in which we live by giving victim’s a voice and serving justice for our community.

The impacts on my office and the justice system will be consequential if additional positions are eliminated.  When officers are unable to immediately respond to crimes that are committed because of manpower two things occur.  First, immediate law enforcement attention cannot be given to a victim and second, because officers cannot immediately respond to a scene, crucial evidence will not be collected and lost.  Quick response to a crime scene is paramount to any successful prosecution.  Almost 100% of crimes get solved, prosecuted and result in convictions when there is a quick law enforcement response.  Less than 50% of cases get solved, prosecuted and result in convictions when a case is investigated days or weeks after an incident.

Investigating a crime days or weeks after its occurrence takes a tremendous amount of time, money and bodies to gather necessary information needed for a successful prosecution.  A gutted police department will have neither the time nor bodies to complete a timely investigation.  Crimes will go unsolved and victims (a large percentage who are tourist) will never see justice or be made whole again.  The justice system will have failed them and they will walk away dissatisfied with the system and dissatisfied with Mammoth Lakes.   If any member of the council has been a victim of a serious crime you know what I am talking about.  This is not the image for Mammoth Lakes that we want people to walk away with.  The lack of safety is one of the primary reasons why cities, towns, and neighborhoods decline.  If a neighborhood is unsafe, people don’t buy there.  If your business is located in an unsafe area, your business will fail.  If our town is unsafe, people will not come here.

My office already assists the police department as much as we possibly can on case investigations and will continue to do so because the safety of Mammoth Lakes is our first priority.  Your safety is our priority.  Elimination of positions will task my office with a tremendous increase in case investigations and the difficulty of piecing cases together.  At this time, I do not see my office hiring additional investigators to help in all the additional investigations, however, I will assure you that we will continue to do the best we can to assist the Police Department.  One factor that will never change is that crime will always exist.  The question becomes how does the town handle it?  Eliminating position and reducing your police force is not the answer.

Thank you for your time and consideration to this very important issue.


Tim Kendall

Mono County District Attorney

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29 Responses to Mono DA says Mammoth police cuts will have “negative consequences”

  1. Jason M November 10, 2012 at 9:31 am #

    To comment on the types of comments i have read so far, I am more than a little frustrated. For one, people do not seem to realize they are voicing their biases and prejudices and looking for validation. Second, why is it, for anyone without experience, education, or formal training in an area believe they know better than the professionals. Why are we, the American public, so distrustful of educated, experienced professionals? Patients think they know more than their doctors about medicine, parents think they know more about education than teachers, and citizens think they know more about governance than DAs and police chiefs.
    I think crime and violence is nothing to play around with. Once it settles in, it is much harder to route out, than to prevent it. When the police force and the DAs office say they need support to keep Mammoth safe, it is because they need the support to help you. Get it?
    I am not a Mammoth resident, but i vacation there and i love the place. Personally i have always been against town expansion for this reason, it will bring city problems to a small town. And the only perceived answer will be to grow larger to address the increase. But that will also expand the problems. And for those used to small town life, this isnt apparent. But whether one sees the avalanche coming or not doesn’t matter. It will pound you flat regardless. So, heed the warnings of those professionals who WANT to protect you. Permit yourself to see what they see instead of your own narrow view. They see, from training and experience, a crime landslide on its way. Highway 395 is a narcotics corridor. Support local law enforcement so that drug trafficers and criminals think twice before taking the Mammoth offramp. Otherwise, you are responsible for laying out the welcome mat.

  2. john Delgado November 9, 2012 at 11:34 am #

    Mammoth needs to Legalize Marijuana for recreational use for everyone over 21, then the local economy will Boom 🙂

    • Mark November 9, 2012 at 4:18 pm #

      Benett you could put this legalize mj to save the town claim to rest by finding out how much the pot shops have contributed to the budget since going into business.

      I have my doubts that it’s much $$ at all.

  3. john Delgado November 9, 2012 at 11:32 am #

    Tim Kendall is only using Scare-Tactics to pass tha Buck for his over-paid, over-pensioned minions… 🙂

  4. upthecreek November 8, 2012 at 11:51 am #

    talk about “negative consequences”
    Just wait till we see what happens with our newly elected Government.

    Govt gone wild


  5. tm November 8, 2012 at 11:39 am #

    Of course the D.A. will respond this way. The D.A. is law enforcement. On the two instances that my property was vandalized and stolen, MLPD was never able to solve the cases.

    • Benett Kessler November 8, 2012 at 1:58 pm #

      Yes, the DA is law enforcement, but don’t you think he knows something about how the system functions?
      Benett Kessler

  6. Larry Johnsonism November 8, 2012 at 11:19 am #

    You are absolutely correct Benett.
    And some of our elected officials believe that the less staffed and underfunded the better things will be. In Mono County, for example, Larry Johnston’s solitary agenda is to cut staff, cut salaries, give people 10 different jobs, and all will be fine.
    This will surely result in the crappiest services, run by the least experienced people, and the whole system will surely result in huge losses in services and benefits for the taxpayer.

    • JeanGenie November 9, 2012 at 3:14 pm #

      Dear Larry,
      Maybe, with good management (almost impossible to find) cutting funding will result in government agencies pursuing only important issues, those that they are actually supposed to be doing, rather than bloat themselves up with unimportant tasks to secure “more funding”.
      I can’t think of too may “services and benefits” that I would miss. Library and minimal law enforcement is about it. That means I like to read and if someone is trying to kill me it would be nice for the cops to show up before the deed is done

  7. ferdinand lopez November 8, 2012 at 10:03 am #

    why live in paradise under the influence?alcohol and dope are just ways to escape reality,give them up and decide if you like yourself and where you are.then people probably wont make bad decisions like beating a spouse or getting behind the wheel drunk.cops arent babysitters for people who want to act irrationally..grow up

  8. Tourbillon November 7, 2012 at 9:24 pm #

    You make a good point Kendall. Let’s look for other places to cut. Like, say, the Mono DA office. Why do we require 4-5 full time DAs with full staff when the public defender seems to get by with 3 part timers and almost no staff?

    • Benett Kessler November 8, 2012 at 8:32 am #

      This happens in both of our counties. In the course of our news coverage we have found that public defenders’ departments are usually under staffed and under funded to provide investigations and other services needed for defendants.
      Benett Kessler

    • Captain Obvious November 8, 2012 at 2:19 pm #

      Cutting back the DA’s office isn’t going to do a bit of good. The DA is part of Mono COUNTY and the police issue is with the TOWN of Mammoth Lakes. Two separate government bodies here, Tourbillon. The DA’s office is understaffed as it is. The Public Defenders work full time – and far more than 40 hours a week. And, not every case that is prosecuted by the DA’s office ends up being defended by a Public Defender. Surprise – there are private attorneys in Mono County as well! No need to defend the DA’s office as it is a moot point. The DA and Police Department are two separate bodies.

      • Tourbillon November 9, 2012 at 4:11 pm #

        You’re playing shell games. I get that TOML and the County are not one and the same. But TOML happens to be the largest town in Mono from which most of the county revenue comes. Get it now? Cut the overstaffed DA office and the county will not require as much money from TOML – which can then keep the money to avoid cop cuts.

        And by the way, for being two such separate and distinct government entities, one is sure going to bat for the other as though they are joined at the hip.

        Or is this too obvious, Captain?

        • Benett Kessler November 9, 2012 at 10:33 pm #

          Tourbillon, what proof do you have that the DA’s office is overstaffed? Police and prosecutors do work together. The police investigate and gather evidence from an immediate crime which is given to the DA for evaluation and possible prosecution. This doesn’t seem nefarious. It’s pretty straight forward stuff.
          Benett Kessler

  9. where to focus November 7, 2012 at 4:18 pm #

    Instead of focusing on hidden cop cars trying to nap people make a rolling stop, simply have a couple of cops camp out outside the usual watering holes and night clubs to nab the drunks and stoners. The rest of the evening should be spent patrolling the congestested neighborhoods for the usual domestic violence cases.

    • Realist November 7, 2012 at 8:27 pm #

      How is it possible to patrol neigorhoods for Domestic Violence cases? These crimes happen behind closed doors. X-Ray Vision?

      The cops hanging out at the bars at closing time prevent an untold amount of violent assaults by intoxicated persons. The cops can quickly break away to take care of the few DV cases that happen each month.

      • Notorious spots November 8, 2012 at 11:30 am #

        In Mammoth there is one area in particular that is notorious for violence, all-night partying, drug use, etc.
        The local police know exactly where this area is and it is less than 1 mile square in area. Cell phones, regular phones and police dispatch is all that is needed to police this notorious trouble spot – not X-ray vision. This coupled with the usual closing time police work at the hot night spots is all that is needed. 2 or three cars is all that should be required.

    • Trouble November 7, 2012 at 8:56 pm #

      Last I heard people over 21 are allowed to be drunk and stoned, especially in Mammoth, as long as they aren’t breaking other laws.

      • Wayne Deja November 7, 2012 at 9:49 pm #

        Trouble….and there lies the problem…..usually people in Mammoth that are drunk and stoned ARE also doing something illegal….driving,drunk in public,getting into fights,trying to get into fights,among other things that endanger the public.

        • Bemused November 8, 2012 at 9:45 am #

          Really Wayne…”usually?” I assure you that on any given Winter Saturday night, there are thousands of drunk and/or stoned people in town who do not engage in illegal/deviate behavior…the vast majority, in fact.

        • Tourist towns November 8, 2012 at 11:24 am #

          Tourist towns, especially those that attract the snowboarder crowd, are the drunken and stoned partiers. This is the nature of the beast.

          • Wayne Deja November 8, 2012 at 4:32 pm #

            …Tourist towns….and that is EXACTALLY why ,in that type of town,people,especially the ones that don’t go through life drunk and high,don’t want the police force cut down.Your saying it’s just the “nature of the beast” sounds like Law Enforcement should just throw their arms up and say “Oh,well”..I know of people,couples and girls that used to live in June Lake that wouldn’t even go to Mammoth on the week-ends,knowing if they did,a good chance the guy with the girl would end up getting in a fight,or the girl would end up getting harrassed and having her butt grabbed by some drunken bum with his guy friends giggling and laughing about it if she took offense to it.This may come as a suprise to some of the,as you mentioned, “drunk and stoned snowboarder crowd”,but there are still girls out there that like to be treated with respect.

        • Big AL November 8, 2012 at 5:15 pm #

          Usually people ANYwhere are doing the above.

        • Trouble November 8, 2012 at 9:12 pm #

          wayne- I say lighten up on our youth and let them have the same freedoms and fun we had in our youth. May I suggest showing Animal House and Up In Smoke at midnight?

          • JeanGenie November 9, 2012 at 3:04 pm #

            Trouble, How about “Reefer Madness”? That is classic. Also “Quadrophenia”. Midnight movies were a lot of fun back in the day when I could stay up that late!

          • Wayne Deja November 9, 2012 at 6:55 pm #

            Trouble….Once again,there lies the problem…Back in “our youth”,I have to admit,I did do some really stupid things….But….youth back then was 16,17,18,maybe 19 years old….then it got to be grow-up time….get a full time job,a place to live,and starting out with life…Nowadays,todays “youth”,going out in public with the intention of getting drunk,high,and stupid with a bunch of “guy-guys” grabbing butts,giggling,starting trouble and getting into fights,it ain’t the same as it was way back when….NOW it’s 26,27,28,maybe even older little packs of drunk,high “guy-guys” doing it….

      • Realist November 8, 2012 at 8:43 am #

        Because it is illegal to be intoxicated to a point where you cannot car for your safety or the safety of others.

        I have seen the cops at these bars. The last thing they want to do is take some drunk to Bridgeport. They frequently get friends of the drunk to take him home and sometimes take the drunks home themselves. If the drunk is trying to start a fight, can’t remember where he lives, thats another story.


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