Santa Clarita Sheriff’s Station Captain Anthony La Berge has released a letter for the public. That letter is published in its entirety below:
On behalf of your Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station, I would like to wish each of you a happy and safe winter holiday season, a safe New Year’s Eve, and a prosperous 2009.
This year has certainly been productive for the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station. Despite tough economic challenges, we have been successful in meeting our goals and protecting our residents through innovative and cost-effective programs. These new programs and technology, like the “T3 Motion” Paseo Patrol Program, Automated License Plate Reader patrol cars, Blue Check wireless fingerprinting devices, and the City of Santa Clarita’s Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Deputy, have given us the ability to work more efficiently, maintain better visibility and enforcement, and maximize our patrol efforts and investigations to keep Santa Clarita safe by catching those who break the law.
The City of Santa Clarita recently purchased two of the “T3 Motion” Electric Personal Mobility Vehicles for the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station. In partnership with the city, station personnel have launched this brand new and innovative Paseo Patrol Program, dubbed T3-PPP. The T3 Paseo Patrol Program will give full time deputy sheriffs, reserve deputies, and our volunteers another option for patrolling our community’s parks, special events, and nearly 60 miles of bicycle trails and paseos in the City of Santa Clarita.
In recent months, some residents have expressed an interest in seeing increased patrols and visibility by deputies on our paseo system. Public concerns about unlawful or nuisance type teenage activities, criminal conduct, and suspicious persons on some paseos and trails brought about a quick and innovative response in the form of the T3 Program. The seclusion and ruralness of our paseos create a unique challenge for deputies to access them in the event of an emergency, to respond to calls for service, or just to conduct day-to-day patrol checks. Periodic bicycle patrols, access to some paseo systems by sheriff patrol cars, and even foot patrols or special operations all have limitations. That problem will now be resolved with these new T3s, which are capable of traveling at speeds of up to 25 mph for nearly eight hours on a single charge. These vehicles are extremely maneuverable, are capable of carrying equipment necessary for deputies to enforce local laws and ordinances, and will give us the flexibility to reach virtually any area of the trails and paseos. Look for the T3 on a paseo or at an event near you soon!
This time of year is a good time to assess your personal safety and emergency preparedness before we find ourselves in the middle of another crisis. Residents should be especially prepared for fires, flooding, and earthquakes. In July we experienced a magnitude 5.4 earthquake centered in Chino Hills which served as a poignant reminder that we should all stay prepared. Fortunately, no one was injured, and the earthquake actually served as real-life training exercise for our personnel. In October we experienced several high fire danger “Red Flag” wind and weather warnings. Although we sent personnel to major fires all around us, we were fortunate to have only a few incidents in our area that were quickly extinguished by the Los Angeles County Fire Department. Your deputies will remain on fire watch as the weather changes and I encourage you to immediately report any suspicious activity, smoke or fire in our vulnerable rural areas.
Rest assured that your Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station is prepared for any emergency. We have had several recent meetings with the Los Angeles County Fire Department pertaining to evacuation protocol and emergency response. Unique training opportunities have also been put into place between the fire department and our deputies. We recently attended the Los Angeles County Fire Department’s Living in a Fire Zone Emergency Expo and the City of Santa Clarita’s 2008 Emergency Expo. We also participated in a tabletop emergency notification system exercise with the City’s Technology Services Division. Remember – Disaster Knows No Time – Prepare for 2009! Visit our Web site at www.scvsheriff.com for emergency preparedness and earthquake safety tips.
Speaking of being prepared: Did you know that virtually every deputy working patrol and protecting our community carries several items every shift to protect you and enforce the law? That’s right, deputies have several standard safety and enforcement items that are issued by the Department and are worn on a daily basis. These items can weigh up to 25 pounds. In addition to these standard issue items, most deputies choose to purchase and carry up to 100 pounds of additional equipment. This better prepares them to protect you and respond to emergencies. Items such as first aid kits, CPR masks, bolt cutters, legal reference guides, and fire preparedness equipment are just some of the additional equipment.
Recently, thanks to the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff Station’s Booster Club, this additional load just got much easier to manage. Our Booster Club recently purchased 120 full size equipment lockers that have been installed at the station and will be easily accessible to the deputies and their patrol cars. Whereas the deputies used to have to carry their equipment long distances up stairwells, and find creative secure ways to store it while not on duty, they can now immediately and easily load and unload the equipment bags from the lockers and into their patrol cars. Thank you SCV Sheriff’s Booster Club for lightening the load on our deputies.
On behalf of everyone at the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station, I want to wish each of you a safe, productive, and joyful holiday season as we move into 2009. I would be remiss if I did not remind all residents to celebrate responsibly during family gatherings this holiday season, take the care and precautions to protect your property in vehicles while shopping during the holidays, and stay involved with keeping our community safe. Preventing crime in Santa Clarita is everyone’s business – “If You See Something – Say Something.” Non-emergency crime can be reported anonymously by calling (661) 284-2-TIP (661-284-2847).
Captain Anthony La Berge
Chief of Police for the City of Santa Clarita