Jerry Smith took audience suggestions on fighting drugs and had ideas of his own.
About 40 people attended a community meeting Monday evening to address what the organizer called the blatant use of illegal substances by young people in the community.
"Kids in Elk Grove refer to our community as Rancho Marijuana," organizer Jerry Smith said in his opening comments at Rancho Murieta Community Church.
"...I heard (of) a text e-mail that went out today to several kids in the youth group that an ounce was available if anyone was interested. We have a serious drug problem. It's evident in blatant use of drugs at our Gazebo, it's evident in tagging of our pedestrian bridge. The officers know it, the neighbors know it, everybody knows it. Somebody needs to do something about it."
Smith, who works with the church's youth outreach, said he organized the meeting hurriedly last week because the problem is urgent.
In attendance were Rancho Murieta Association, Community Services District and Security officials, along with representatives of the county Sheriff's Department and county and state government.
Members of the audience offered suggestions during the meeting, which lasted more than two hours.
One audience member said there needed to be consequences for youths who break the law. Others proposed closing off the community's undeveloped back area at night, enforcing curfew, passing an ordinance to address marijuana use, working with the district attorney's office to prosecute drug violations and pushing for more sheriff's patrols in the community.
Smith called for closed-circuit TV cameras, even if they're only dummies, parental patrols with radios, and photographing and videotaping suspicious activity "just to show we're not going to take this crap anymore." He suggested posting "drug-free zone" signs at the parks.
Pat Braziel, chief of staff for county Supervisor Don Nottoli, said the supervisor's office is always willing to help, "But we didn't know there was a problem."
That was echoed by Debbie Coil, a crime prevention specialist for the sheriff.
"If you don't report it, it didn't occur - period," Coil said. "...We're hearing all these complaints about drugs, drugs, drugs. (I) ran the calls for the last month. There isn't a single thing in there about drugs."
She added, "It's your responsibility. You live here. You're supposed to call."
Coil offered the non-emergency sheriff's phone number to report drug violations - 874-5115. When the recording comes on, press 1 to leave a message, she said.
CSD Director Dick Taylor said to call the South Gate at 354-3743 to report anything suspicious.
Murietan Jacque Villa said residents who want to participate in the Volunteers in Partnership with the Sheriff (VIPS) or file a report with the sheriff should contact the James L. Noller Safety Center at 354-8509 or 354-8511.
The group at Monday's meeting decided to form a parents' patrol to monitor drug use at the Gazebo and the parks. That's being organized by Mike Salazar, 354-2550. Audience members were encouraged to attend upcoming RMA and CSD meetings to pursue other measures.