Other news from this meeting

Vehicle break-in at plaza

Cable vandalism

Subject of police search no longer resident

Gate policy

 

::: COMMUNITY NEWS

Noller Security Chief Jim Noller conducts a tour of the new community safety center, now undergoing finish details.

New community safety center likely to bear Jim Noller's name

Published Monday, October 11, 2004

Whether it's called a community service center or a community safety center, the building the Community Services Center has provided for law enforcement agencies is likely to bear the name of Security Chief Jim Noller.

Director Dick Taylor made the suggestion during the CSD Security Meeting held Oct. 5. Board President Wayne Kuntz said the suggestion would be brought to the CSD board for its approval at the Oct. 20 meeting.

"I'm taken aback by that," Noller told the committee. "I really appreciate that."
"Under the circumstances, I think it's appropriate," said Taylor.

It was Noller who suggested the center during a CSD planning meeting late last year.

Noller will retire Oct. 29 after spending more than half his life providing security services for the community. He came to Rancho Murieta in July 1975.

At the public announcement for the center this July, Noller said, "This is a special project, something I've had in a dream for a long time. Now it's going to become a reality. … All these agencies working together at this particular time, when budgets are in such disruption, it's important that we're going to provide a much better service now than we did before."

The center, a 1,440-square foot pre-fabricated building that's been installed next to the CSD parking lot, will have offices for the Sheriff's Department, the California Highway Patrol and CSD Security. It will be staffed by Volunteers In Partnership with the Sheriff.

The center was first expected to open in September, but a change in location dictated by fire department requirements has delayed the opening and contributed to increasing costs from $125,000 to an estimated $200,000, due in large part to plumbing and electrical infrastructure. The center had been planned to go in next to the CSD Building where it would have been able to tie into existing infrastructure.

Funding for the center comes from fees paid by developers. No ratepayer funds are involved. The project appears in the CSD budget under capital improvements, a category that is funded by developer fees.

In July, CSD General Manager Ed Crouse said the district wanted to develop "partnerships in return for that investment."

To that end, the district is working out memoranda of understanding with the law enforcement agencies.

At the meeting of the community's Joint Security Committee, which preceded the CSD Security Committee meeting, it was announced that the Sheriff's Department doesn't have the funds to hire a full-time office manager for the center and the department will also need to acquire radios and a computer, said Taylor.

Staffing of the center will depend on the number of VIPS, he said. Currently, there are seven people in the community who have completed training to run the center. The training consisted of learning how to take crime reports and learning about the Sheriff's Department and community policing functions.

The Wilton center, which is called a safety center because it includes law enforcement and fire personnel, operates 40 hours a week with a 10-person staff serving four-hour shifts, Taylor said. "We're going to have to get some more people."

Jim Embree, a member of the Joint Security Committee who has completed VIPS training for both desk duty and patrol duty, said there are more people in the community who are interested in taking the week-long training sessions. He said taking crime reports would be the main focus of office volunteers and performing "vacation checks" would be the chief duty of two-person patrols.

The CSD has purchased a patrol vehicle for the VIPS' use. Five of the seven volunteers have also taken patrol training.

A third unit of VIPS training covers driving a vehicle in emergency situations.

Anyone interested in taking the training necessary to become a member of VIPS should contact VIPS President Dena Law at 717-2260. The next class will be held in February, although there is a possibility a class could be held before then if there are 20 or more interested people.

Other topics discussed at the two security meetings included the following.

Vehicle break-in at Plaza

CSD Security Sgt. Greg Remson reported details of a car break-in that occurred around 11:45 a.m. on Sept. 27 in front of a business in the Plaza. A window was smashed in and a purse was stolen from the vehicle in the incident. The victim told Security that she had concealed her purse under the seat and locked the vehicle. The purse was recovered later that afternoon at Cosumnes River Elementary School. Credit cards and cash were missing from the purse. Remson speculated the purse might have been discarded as the thief drove along Highway 16. The Sheriff's Department is investigating the incident.

Cable vandalism

RMA General Manager Greg Vorster asked residents to be alert to activity taking place near RMA cable equipment after an incident of vandalism occurred Sept. 30 on Medella Circle. The cylindrical cover on cable equipment located near the street was forced open and the cable inside was cut. The Sheriff's Department has been called in to investigate.

Subject of police search no longer resident

A man who was the object of a Sept. 16 police search after a domestic violence incident is no longer living in the community and is barred from entering the community by a restraining order, Security Sgt. Greg Remson reported. A helicopter and a canine unit were part of the unsuccessful post-midnight search for the man, who was later said to have fled to Elk Grove, Remson said.

Gate policy

Rancho Murieta Association General Manager Greg Vorster updated the Joint Security Committee on what the RMA board is doing regarding the gate policy that is now in effect. The policy was approved by the RMA board in 2002 and went into effect in January 2003.

RMA Directors Mike Martel and Blake Carmichael are the members of an ad hoc committee that is addressing the present board's issues with the policy.

While at least one RMA board member favors rewriting the policy, "several board members thought it was a very well-written document already," Vorster said.

RMA Director Jack Copeland, a member of the security committee, told the group he considered it "a good document," but maintained that "a lot of things … aren't being done," and specifically mentioned the issuance of a vehicle pass to every visitor.

Security Chief Jim Noller and Chuck Christian, a past RMA board president and current committee member, worked together to develop the policy as members of the Joint Security Committee.

At the meeting, they explained that the gate passes referred to in the policy are a software option for the present gate entry system. They said it's an aspect of the system that was not intended for use until the North Gate was rebuilt to eliminate traffic back-ups onto Highway 16.

At the present gate, providing a detailed pass to every visitor was a "time and expense" issue, Noller said.

CSD Director Dick Taylor said if the RMA "is not concerned" about back-ups, the issue of passes could be addressed. Several RMA directors have said the back-up problem should be left to the CHP for enforcement.

Copeland said he wanted to see the back-ups ignored by the gate officers. Instead, the responsibility would fall on the individual drivers who block the intersection.

"That would be determined by lawyers after the accident occurred," remarked Noller.

Vorster suggested that the CHP should be contacted before a change in procedure was made.

As part of this back-and-forth discussion, the proposal was resurrected to close Lago Drive to left turns from Murieta Parkway on a 30-day trial basis. The idea was brought up months ago as a possible way to reduce back-ups at the gate during the peak times documented by gate officers.

The committee decided to look into the cost of renting traffic counters to measure traffic volume at key intersections.



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