Making Ukiah Safer
In case you haven’t heard, Realty World Selzer Realty is sponsoring a contest with a $750 prize to the person who submits the best plan to make Ukiah a safer place to live and work.
Dick Selzer said, "We have an excellent police force, but they need our help. Transients who come to Ukiah to work in the marijuana industry bring violence that drains our public safety resources…And we have other problems: gang violence, burglaries, etc. An obvious solution to make Ukiah safer is to put more police officers on the streets, but I would like people to dig a little deeper. I would like to eliminate the need for more police officers."
He’s right. People think of Ukiah as a sleepy little town with no safety concerns, but that’s naïve. Just ask any of our police officers—officers who find weapons and drugs during ordinary traffic stops, officers who intervene during domestic violence assaults, officers who investigate robberies, and officers who patrol our neighborhoods to try to prevent crime.
Ukiah is not the same place it was twenty or thirty years ago; and when it comes to safety, Ukiah is going in the wrong direction. I really hope some of you consider submitting your ideas about how to make Ukiah safer. This is kind of like crowd-sourcing—where many people get involved to solve a problem or achieve a goal. Even if you don’t win the $750 prize, your idea could get implemented and make this town we all love a better place.
Be creative. We try all kinds of tactics at UPD to thwart crime. We sometimes park police cars at busy intersections to slow people down, even though there’s no officer in the car. We’ve implemented Community Service Officers who don’t carry firearms but who help us build relationships in the community. We engage in partnerships with local schools to help kids avoid gang membership.
I’d sure like to know your thoughts on how can we make Ukiah less welcoming for those who simply want to benefit from the illegal marijuana trade. Let’s put our thinking caps on!
Dick Selzer said he would like to eliminate the need for more officers. So would I! Right now, our officers struggle to keep up with the calls that come in. Our officers have a heavier workload than officers in surrounding cities, and that’s not healthy for them or for our community in the long run. In recent years, UPD officers haven’t had time to do important community policing, because they’ve been too busy dealing with violent crimes.
Recently, one of our officers told the story of how a routine traffic stop was not routine at all. She pulled a car over because the driver wasn’t wearing his seatbelt. As she approached, she noticed he was kicking his feet to move something under the seat. When she asked if he had any weapons, he looked down toward his feet and she knew she better call for backup. When backup arrived, the officers removed the driver and passenger from the car. When they searched the car, they found a Beretta (hand gun) and a rifle. The driver turned out to be a convicted felon.
There really is no such thing as a “routine” stop when you’re a police officer. We want our police officers to be well rested and sharp, paying attention to subtle details. They can’t do that if we are understaffed. To see this video and others about UPD, go to www.yesonmeasurep.us/endorsements.html.
The deadline to submit ideas to make Ukiah safer is December 1, 2014. If you want details about the competition, you can pick up information at UPD, the Ukiah Daily Journal, or Realty World Selzer Realty. You’ve got nothing to lose. Put your thoughts on paper and you might be $750 richer.
As always, our mission at UPD is simple: to make Ukiah as safe as possible. If you have suggestions on how we can improve please feel free to call me. If you would like to know more about crime in your neighborhood, you can sign up for telephone, cell phone and email notifications by clicking the Nixle button on our website: www.ukiahpolice.com.