Since assuming command of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station nearly three months ago, it has been my intention to review every aspect of our service to the community. As the new chief of police, a long-time resident of the city of Santa Clarita, and someone who has spent 29 years of my life in law enforcement, I am committed to protecting others and community service.
I have made it a priority to meet with community leaders, officials in local government, school representatives, and our local press. I have learned much in this short period of time regarding crime trends, effective allocation of available resources, and especially concerns about narcotic use in the valley.
At a recent city council meeting, concerns were raised about drug use in the city of Santa Clarita, and more specifically the rise of heroin use and availability. Also asked was how heroin is affecting our community, and specifically, what role heroin has played in the untimely deaths of youth or young adults in our community.
Following the meeting, I began an immediate assessment into the scope of the drug problem in our community and what is being done about it. I ordered a statistical review of drug and narcotic trends, and drug related deaths. I looked at enforcement, prevention, intervention, and treatment resources, as well as, overall awareness of the scope of the problem and our responsibility as a community. I spoke with our patrol deputies, who know better than most about this problem. And finally, I met with the captain of the Narcotics Bureau. As a result of this assessment, a comprehensive report pertaining to this matter was completed. This report has given me a better understanding of the exact scope of the problem.
I presented much of my findings to the city council at the public meeting on May 25, 2010, and have since made that entire presentation available publicly to our local press outlets when requested. My speaking points from that meeting can be read on our Web site at www.scvsheriff.com. I encourage you to read them in their entirety.
This report to the city council was a steppingstone for what we intend to do to address this growing problem. Since the release of the report and our subsequent findings, I have met with all of my school resource deputies, have brought in additional resources from the Sheriff Department’s Headquarters Narcotics Bureau, and I am working on funding for a additional narcotics enforcement expert and a team leader sergeant position to work directly with our school resource deputies, strictly to address drug related issues.
We are in the final stages of defining our mission statement for this team and outlining our goals and objectives to ensure the most effective allocation of these resources in order to strengthen the efforts of this specialized narcotics ‘strike team.’ This team will be conducting extensive enforcement operations over and above what the station narcotics unit already does and will specifically focus on school age intervention.
We intend to do everything we can to combat this problem, but we can’t do it alone. Drug prevention starts with family involvement, accountability, and personal commitment. It is my intention to enhance all drug prevention and enforcement efforts and protect our local youth. However, with more than 60 schools in our community and a student body population nearing 50,000, this will not be an easy task. It is in my view, one of the most important elements of our success against combating drugs. We must catch relatively minor substance abuse cases very early and address them before poor decision making develops into severe addictions.
I do not believe that this is solely a law enforcement problem. It starts right in the home with parental involvement, education, and awareness. We will continue our efforts in direct partnership with the community as a whole. I believe in accountability at all levels in addressing this problem.
With the council and community’s support and involvement, we can ensure the maximum resources are directed toward stopping this trend. I welcome any and all efforts of the council and members of this community.
We are fortunate in Santa Clarita to have resources available for our residents at their fingertips. Any person who wishes to take personal responsibility for a drug addiction, depression, or other problem directly affecting and impacting lives can reach out to the city of Santa Clarita or the Sheriff’s Department. There are 57 substance abuse treatment facilities within a 20 mile radius of Santa Clarita. In addition, there are incredible intervention programs and unlimited youth activities in Santa Clarita that can keep kids and teens away from drugs. More information can be found under the Community Links and Service Clubs page on the city of Santa Clarita’s website at www.santa-clarita.com
If You See Something, Say Something! Anyone with information about a crime is encouraged to contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Santa Clarita Valley Station at 661-255-1121. If you prefer to provide information anonymously, you can call “Crime Stoppers” by dialing 800-222-TIPS (8477), texting the letters TIPLA plus your tip to CRIMES (274637), or using the website www.lacrimestoppers.com.
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Articles - This Issue
- Our Personal Tragedy
- A Note From The Publishers July 2010
- Soccer Fever in the SCV - Our Cover Story
- In Loving Memory of Dr. Edward Allen Pechter
- Honoring Jacquie Petersen
- News From SCV Zonta Club
- Managing Success
- 4th of July Celebrations in the Santa Clarita Valley
- A Message From Captain Paul Becker, SCV Sheriff's Station
- A Call For Help