DATE: February 28, 2011
TO: Rick Abboud, City Planner
FROM: Mark Robl, Chief of Police
SUBJECT: Sign Violation Enforcement
Even with the addition of a new police officer this year, the police department will have very little time to engage in sign violation enforcement. We set records with our high numbers of arrests last year. We made more arrests in the last three months, typically slow winter months, than ever before. Our officers have been incurring overtime at unprecedented rates for this time of year and it is not slowing down.
I would expect most of the sign violations to occur in the summer. This is our busiest time and we often have to prioritize calls for service based on severity. There were many days last summer when we were unable to even do basic patrol work while our officers scrambled to keep up with case work demands from the district attorneys office and the court system. We were not able to respond to over one hundred calls for service. I am hoping to minimize overtime, fill in some of the blank schedule spots and reduce our response times and incidents of no response with our new officer. Taking on more work, no matter how trivial it may seem, is not practical.
Our dispatchers provide our secretarial and clerical support in addition to answering phone and radio calls. They have to prepare, log, file and transmit every citation that comes in from patrol. We are down one position in dispatch due to budget cuts and the existing staff will be hard pressed to keep up with summer work loads as it is. I am not interested in adding more work to their current responsibilities. We will also be down to one enforcement aide on the spit this summer, we had two last summer. This person will be very busy with parking enforcement and beach patrol duties.
It seems that there is more and more interest in increasing the enforcement of city ordinances. I suggest a code enforcement position be considered. It would be more cost effective to do code enforcement with a dedicated position and should cost considerably less than a police officer.