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Week 6 of our academy dealt with the Community Resources Bureau. The bureau is the part of the department that handles issues such as homeless, tobacco and alcohol sales to minors, juvenile crime and recurring issues. The department is led by Lt. Eric White
One of the main parts of the Bureau are the Pop Officers. POP stands for Problem Oriented Policing. The POP officers handle cases that require more time to deal with than a patrol officer has time for. It is usually some type of recurring issue. Maybe a house that is causing problems in a neighborhood, or issues with the homeless. The city has 5 beats or areas of patrol. Each beat has a POP officer, and some POP officers specialize in specific areas of need.
Officer McCue works with the homeless population. She receives help from the “homeless navigator” who helps direct people to services offered by the city, county or a local group such as Elk Grove HART. The navigator will even drive them to places like the DMV to get an ID card so they can apply for services. Officer McCue said there 50-60 chronic homeless. Most are from Elk Grove. There are more that live in cars, couch surf or stay in hotels. She said there are two groups of homeless. The mentally ill and those who can’t afford or find homes. Some of the chronically homeless will not accept help. Starting soon there will be a crisis intervention team that will include an officers and a mental health professional who will contact the homeless and help them to find programs to give them assistance. Officer McCue also works with code enforcement to help clean up homeless camps.
Officer Villareal is a pop officer that works in the Old Town and East Elk Grove area. It’s an area with a higher percentage of homeless so she works with Officer McCue on that aspect of it. She also is in charge of using a Tobacco Grant to help catch adults and stores that sell tobacco to underage buyers. They use minors that are decoys that either go into stores or ask adults to buy them tobacco. California law states that a person must be 21 to buy tobacco products.
Officer Moser works POP in Beat 4, which is south of Elk Grove Blvd and west of 99. Officer Moser works with loss prevention at local stores such as Target, Wal Mart, Old Navy etc. He also works with the juvenile diversion program. This is a program that allows teens who are arrested to essentially work off their crime and have it removed from their record. It is a 4 month program. During that 4 months the teens put in 50 hours of community service. They have to write a 5 page essay, take online programs, write a letter of apology to their parents, and the teen and their parents attend a tour of prison, where they are 1 on 1 with prisoners who tell them what life is like behind bars and how they messed up their lives as juveniles. Some kids don’t comply with the program and their cases are forwarded to the DA for prosecution. Officer Moser also said that some parents don’t get involved. He described the program as very rewarding and a way to help kids who commit a misdemeanor to live up to their mistake and change their life direction.
Officer Moser also works with the Cadet Explorer Program. This is a program for teens, age 14-20 that have an interest in law enforcement. They meet every Wednesday. They go through an academy type program. They learn what officers do. They volunteer to help out at events. Other Explorer activities include office work; traffic control at city events such as parades, DUI Checkpoints, and other city events; ride along with patrol officers and dispatchers; participate in academies and competitions; and volunteer at civic events.
For more information visit the Elk Grove Police Explorer’s website http://www.egpoliceexplorers.org/
How do I apply?
Applications can be picked up at the Police Service Center or download an Explorer Application here (*). Completed applications can be delivered to the Elk Grove Police Department public counter during business hours, emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org, or mailed to: The Elk Grove Police Department Explorers, Attn. Officer David Moser, 8400 Laguna Palms Way, Elk Grove CA 95758.
Qualified applicants will be subject to an interview and background investigation before being accepted into the Explorer program. If you have any question regarding the program or the application process, please contact Lead Advisor Officer David Moser at email@example.com.
Our main instructor for the academy is Officer Kawamoto. He is also a POP officer. One of his duties is working with a grant to make sure businesses and adults are not selling or helping teens buy alcohol. They use decoys to go into stores to buy alcohol or ask an adult to buy it for them. Officer Kawamoto is also working on a new program called “Stop the Bleed”. This is a program to teach citizens how to respond to mass casualty situations. The program helps people identify wounds and treat them. Regular citizens are often the “first responders” on a scene. Teaching them how to apply emergency first aid, can save lives. Officer Kawamoto said that officers carry tourniquets with them either on their belts or in the car. They also have emergency first aid kits.
We also heard from Crime Prevention Officers Packwood and Ramirez. They work with neighborhood watch groups and help run the crime prevention program. They also do Safety Town, Paws on Patrol, the Toy Drive, Regional Safety Day and Santa and Sirens.
They told us that there are 237 active neighborhood watch groups in the city. They range from a few homes on a court to large areas with over 100 homes. They talked about the crime “triangle”.
As citizens, we can’t control the desire and ability of the criminals, but we can reduce the opportunity. Things such as not leaving any items of value in your car. Being aware of your surroundings.
Some of their suggestions for helping fight back against crime are:
Our final program was learning about VIPS (Volunteers in Police Service). These are volunteers who help out the department. They do vacation checks, pick up packages, help out in the office, work at events, do admin work, low level reports, DUI checkpoints and parking lot citations for parking illegally in handicap spots. The VIPS work 4 hours per work. Everyone must pass a background check and that can sometimes take several months.
A new program that started in the last year is the Community Ambassador program. They work at various events during the year. They volunteer 4 hours per month. This is program for people that want to help out but can’t do it every week. This program is also a good way to get into the VIPS. The community ambassadors don’t have to pass as strict a background check since they are not working at the department. The ambassadors can then move up to VIPS if they want after they pass their background checks.