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Biggest Budget Loser 2: Police

June 22, 2012

Among the biggest losers in the 2012-13 budget are the men and women in blue—the Mammoth Lakes Police Department.

The MLPD will lose its School Resource officer. In a memo to the Town Council, Police Chief Dan Watson said that the effect would be the elimination of the DARE Program, the Every 15 Minutes Presentation, supervision at special events and an increase in juvenile crime and at-risk behavior by youth.

At the same time, Watson sent out a plea for volunteer “reserve” officers to help make up the shortfall.

The “Every 15 Minutes” presentation earlier this month featured a re-enactment of a drunk driving death. Participating in the presentation were students, police, Mammoth Hospital, the Mono County sheriff’s department, county paramedics and a Navy rescue helicopter from Fallon, Nev.

Also gone is a traffic enforcement officer, which Watson said likely will increase the number of traffic collisions and eliminate programs such as the Bike Rodeo and the Car Seat Giveaway.

The revision to the deployment schedule will mean, obviously, fewer officers; a likely increase in response times to calls for service, a reduction in preventative patrols and a potential increase in crime.

Budget overtime restrictions will eliminate the Community Police Academy, the Hispanic Advisory Committee and Town Hall meetings, Honor Guard details and Mounted Unit details.

Watson said in the memo that the police presence will be reduced at community events such as Night of Lights, Bluesapalooza, Motocross, Fourth of July Parade, Mammoth Rocks and the Roxy Chicken Jam.

At the same time, Watson said on Thursday that he is recruiting volunteer “reserve” police officers through Cerro Coso Community College in Bishop.

The Basic Peace Officer Level 3 Academy will be offered through the Administration of Justice Program at the Bishop campus. The Academy will be held every Tuesday and Thursday evening from 6 p.m. until 10 p.m. starting Aug. 28 and ending Nov. 15. Tuition for the Academy is $230.

Level 3 Reserve Officers may perform limited support functions while under the supervision of a regular Police Officer. This includes transporting arrestees without supervision.

“You do not have to be affiliated with a Police Department to attend the Reserve Academy,” Watson said in a press release.

“However, the MLPD is accepting applications for Reserve Officers and, if selected in time, the MLPD will sponsor the tuition. The standards for being a Reserve Officer are the same as a regular Officer and the selection process includes medical and psychological exams and a thorough background investigation.”

He said anyone interested in applying for a position as a Reserve Police Officer with the MLPD should contact Sergeant Marc Moscowitz at 760-934-2011 or mmoscowitz@mammothlakespd.org.

Anyone interested in obtaining more information about the Reserve Academy can visit Cerro Coso’s website at www.cerrocoso.edu or call the local offices at 760-934-2875 or 760-872-1565.

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