Security explains plan to handle DUI stops
A policy that would allow Security patrol officers to make DUI vehicle stops within the gates got a vote of confidence from the woman whose experience with a drunk driver inspired it. "Just knowing that this policy is in effect is going to be a good deterrent," Linda Garcia told the Community Services District Security Committee last week. The committee also heard an update on gates blocking paths leading to the river.
"This is a direct result of the 18-year-old drunk driver that ended up in Mrs. Garcia's front yard," Security Chief Greg Remson said of the May incident as he introduced the draft DUI policy to the group. "...The goal is to allow the security officers to make vehicle stops, consensual vehicle stops, within the gates, primarily on the association streets, the Country Club, and the back area."
Remson said the rationale for restricting the policy to within the gates is "everything south of the highway is open to the public" and the majority of contacts, especially at night, are with non-residents. "It's a voluntary stop, it's a citizen's arrest ... not a full-fledged law-enforcement effort," General Manager Ed Crouse explained. "We thought that perhaps RMA through their HOA rules could adopt a rule that mandated or required a resident to pull over for a voluntary stop if our officers flashed a yellow light. ... We just didn't want to be in the position of attempting a citizen's arrest with the general public not knowing what our authority is."
Crouse and CSD legal counsel Jonathan Hobbs emphasized the issue is the vehicle stop.
"As far as responding to calls for service, we will always respond to calls for service whether it's at the Equestrian Center, at the Plaza, at the Airport," Crouse said. "If somebody calls and wants us to investigate and make contact with individuals, we will. And then it's up to the officer's discretion ... to detain the person or call the sheriff. As in the case with the DUIs, we ... ask for their keys, they gave us the keys, we called the sheriff or CHP came out and took them. So we have no hesitation about making contact outside the gates." In fact, Security's most recent DUI contact involved a non-resident at the Country Store, Crouse said.
Hobbs said the proposed policy is "designed to address the policing of the residents, so to speak, and not necessarily folks from outside the community ... to try to stay true to the principle that the district has set forth that security officers are not law enforcement officers. Their primary task is to observe and report, but particularly in light of the recent incident we went through and crafted a policy that we think stays true to that principle, but also gives the Security officers the ability if they see something that causes them concern about imminent threat of danger or public safety to attempt to contact the person, stop them without endangering others, and detain them if appropriate, and conduct a citizen's arrest. Hold them for CHP or Sac sheriff, whoever may come out...."
Hobbs said there was concern about having security officers conduct DUI stops on the highway.
"Arguably they may be able to do it, but it would be a pretty great expansion of what the powers are right now," he said. With an attempted vehicle stop, "you run the risk of someone who might flee. Certainly we don't want our officers engaging in pursuits," Hobbs said.
Director of Administration Darlene Gillum said the CSD's insurance provider read the draft policy and stressed that, from a liability standpoint, "our patrol officer training is critical," and should stress recognizing signs of intoxication and the importance of keeping someone who's been pulled over until the CHP arrives. When Director Betty Ferraro asked about this, Remson confirmed that officers currently receive this training.
The policy goes to board Wednesday "for comment and direction about whether to continue to pursue dialogue with the CHP, the sheriff, and the DA, to make sure those entities are on board with our new policy," Crouse said. The policy would be send out for public review and comment, before coming back to the board for adoption in September or October.
- CSD moves ahead on water, security issues (July 25, 2012)
- CSD is challenged on Security policies (June 8, 2012)
Security survey results
Chief Greg Remson provided a look at the preliminary results of the recent survey on Security operations. As of Aug. 2, there were 523 responses. Of these, 77 are satisfied with current security operations and see no need for changes.
The majority of the respondents said "no" to security tax increases for additional officers and to traffic court tickets, and was satisfied with North Gate, South Gate and patrol operations.
Suggestions for operational upgrades included cameras, off-duty sheriffs and online guest registration (although some didn't want that, for fear kids would game the system).
Priority rankings for safety functions
- High: DUI, drunk and disorderly, vandalism and graffiti.
- Medium: Business checks, welfare checks on elderly
- Low: Dogs, trespassing, curfew
Priority rankings for Rancho Murieta Association and CSD functions
- High: speeding and stop signs, unauthorized people in common areas, noise complaints
- Low: driveway parking, garage doors, construction and delivery hours.
"What happens with surveys is depending on what is happening, for example, DUI is the big-ticket item right now, so those will drift up higher..." Remson said. He told the committee survey input "helps point us in the right direction."
Complete survey results will be presented next month.
All three gates have signs, seen below, prohibiting vehicles, while allowing hiking, horseback riding and bicycling.
Update on PTF gates
The three locked gates the Pension Trust Fund for Operating Engineers installed on its undeveloped property near Lake Clementia and Bass Lake have not kept vehicles from the back area, so the PTF has brought in a landscaper to come up with ways to keep them out using boulders, post and cable fencing, trenches or other measures, Security Chief Greg Remson said.
Remson said he told the PTF representative when the gates were installed, "They'd just drive around, and that's what they're doing...." Trespassing vehicles are usually headed for the river, he said.
The gates were installed to address safety and liability issues that have been a longstanding concern because of the potential for fire and for accidents in the area. One gate was installed on the southeast side of Bass Lake and two are at the east end of Clementia levee. The gates do not affect access to Lake Clementia Park.
Signs on all three gates permit access for hiking, bicycling and horseback riding.
From the archives
- Officials discuss how to curb dangerous activities on open land (Dec. 4, 2008)
- 'No Trespassing' signs are effort to address nighttime partying (Oct. 20, 2010)
- RMA and PTF 'No trespassing' signs stolen from lakes area (Nov. 3, 2010)
- Concerns aired about network of trails through private property (Feb. 9, 2012)
Thank you CSD for letting those Residents know who continue to disobey the driving rules and those who flip off our Security Officers that they can continue to do so while DUI. I see nothing has really changed other than you have permission to use your amber lights.
As for your survey....do you really think those that speed and/or run stop signs would actually fill out the Survey with a Yes to approve tickets for vehicle violations. I wonder how many of us actually voted Yes, I know I did.
Seems to me that security does nothing to help the Country Club with problems but from what I read now they feel like they should be allowed to patrol the Country Club property for members who have had a drink. You have got to be kidding. The CC has enough problems already without the fear that our rent-a-cops can potentially stop them on country club property. Boy, that will sure help club revenue!! Instead of having two drinks I better only have one because security will be out there looking for us
On top of that you can count on social members resigning knowing they can't even have a couple drinks at the club because Rancho Murieta Johnny Law will be waiting in the parking lot to arrest them..
You have a stupid kid get drunk and crash and all of a sudden let's go after those club members who we know are drinking. Makes perfect sense. Let's go ahead and try to ruin what is left of our club. By the way without the club your homes will be worth next to nothing. MIght as well burn them down. For those of you who aren't members you should think about that!
My two cents.
I would just like to say that anyone who believes the signs on the gates is just about restricting motorized vehicles is seriously underestimating what the PTF is trying to do here. I had a short meeting with a higher up (I don't know his name) at the operating engineers' offices last week regarding a totally separate matter and the subject of the back gates came up and I can tell this was a hot button issue for him. He got very passionate and asked me how I would like it if people were trespassing on my property and spoke about this being a huge liablity issue for them. He then went on to comment on bikers and said something about people even holding a biking race or tournament of some sort back there and again mentioned the liability issue. Now, given what the signs say, I'm not sure why they would have an issue with a non-motorized person or persons using the property. But I can tell you he was definitely not in support of bikers or really anyone else using that property. He did say that some other company makes the day to day decisions for the management of the PTF properties but it sure seems like the PTF supports these actions and probably, from his comments, support a whole lot more in the way of restrictions. We actually don't frequent the river a whole lot but I have a lot of friends who do so it would be a shame to lose this amenity that we out here enjoy. I don't really know all the legalities and rights in this case, but from what I have read, a prescriptive easement seems to apply here and I feel that if we don't get on top of this immediately, we may lose our chance to fight this. Does anyone know who is in charge of such things and who do we contact to ask (someone at RMA I presume) them to pursue legal action in regards to an easement. It may not be real cheap, but I think it is definitely in our associations' interest to get this straightened out sooner rather than later.
In regards to the CSD giving tickets to people who go back out to the river in vehicles, I just don't understand where the authority to do that comes from. How can they try and fine a homeowner/guest for trespassing on someone else's property. If it is not our property, how can the two be tied together. I understand fining someone for something done on our property, but it doesn't seem any different than the CSD trying to fine someone at Plaza foods with a homeowner's association fine. Call the Sheriff, sure, but fine a homeowner against a separate entity, it just doesn't make sense to me. I really don't care if the PTF is paying the CSD and so are we, it doesn't seem to me that there can be a connection made between a homeowner's association and their ability to fine and lien property and someone else's private property. Now, if there was a prescriptive easement established, then I would agree there is that connection, but, since it doesn't exist, and if it did, they couldn't hand out fines anyways, my opinion is that the two have to remain separate.
The locked gates, on PTF property, are not RMA's problem. Sorry if those of you that go to the river can't get there as easily anymore, and I totally get the "prescriptive easment" deal. Please don't ask RMA to do ANYTHING about this. Not their jurisdiction. The dues we pay each month are to maintain the common areas within RMA's boundaries. PTF forks out a HUGE chunk of change to CSD every year. PTF can ask CSD to do whatever they want. If you (the collective "you") wanna fight this, form your group, hire your own lawyers, solve your own problem. Leave my dues money out of it.