I went out on a ride along with the Costa Mesa Police Department recently and it really opened my eyes to some things I didn’t already know and it confirmed so many things I already knew. I am going to utilize two of my campaign platform points to discuss the ride along: homelessness and crime.
I was with the officer for 5 hours. During that time we pulled over one vehicle and handled back up duty for a suspicious vehicle stop. In between we did nothing but go out and talk to homeless people who were in places the public didn’t want them to be. This happened because of complaints about someone sleeping somewhere that made a citizen uncomfortable.
The officer was very compassionate towards the homeless. We had a long discussion about how it is better for the police to have the homeless all congregate in one area of the city rather than have them randomly roaming the streets. My officer has been on the force for 20 years. He has seen so many things. During our discussion about the homeless he agreed that there are not the right resources available for the homeless. We also discussed how the officers are handcuffed by the courts when dealing with the homeless.
Some of the things I learned that I didn’t already know:
- Officers do not believe arresting the homeless for things like possession of a shopping cart or sleeping in a parking lot will fix anything.
- Officers can arrest the homeless for trespassing, but choose not to because they don’t feel it will do any good and will just come off as harassment.
- Officers routinely counsel the homeless and ask them to move along. It is a daily thing for the officers.
- Officers know most of the homeless on sight.
- Officers are frustrated when they arrange help for the homeless and the homeless don’t follow through.
- Drug addiction is more common with people who have been on the street for a long time and less common with newly homeless. This fits the statistics I had seen previously.
Our discussions revealed that the police also believe housing the homeless is the best solution to the problem.
We discussed the impact of AB109, Prop 57 and Prop 47 here in California. The officer seemed honestly frustrated at how hard those propositions have made his job. He explained how they are handcuffed in certain situations. Whereas previously they would encounter a guy shoplifting and would take him to jail, today they cite and release, which leads to them dealing with the same guy multiple times in the same night.
On our final call of the day we backed up another officer as he approached a suspicious vehicle parked in a parking lot. When we arrived there were 4 adults (3 men and 1 woman) sitting on the ground with their backs against the vehicle. The officers searched the vehicle and found 3 meth filled syringes. Because these people had valid identification on them the officers were forced to give them a citation and let them go. That’s as a result of AB109, Prop 57 and Prop 47.
I was shocked when we simply let them go after finding what was found.
Lawmakers have made the job of law enforcement increasingly difficult by their poorly thought out legal changes. California is leading the way in making it the best place to be if you are a criminal. This has got to change.
When I am elected to the Board of Supervisors I will make it a priority to lobby Sacramento to change the existing laws so that our police officers can actually do the job they were hired to do. I will work tirelessly on this effort because reducing crime in Orange County is a priority of my campaign and one I hope to accomplish. I will also push my homeless eradication plan when elected. My plan will save Orange County hundreds of millions of dollars.
Please consider these things when casting your ballot in June 2018.