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Sheriff Asks City to Amp Up Prevention Programs

Changes to staffing in San Juan Capistrano's police services department are among the items the City Council will take up at its meeting Tuesday.

Crime prevention strategies might soon play a larger role in

The Sheriff's Department is asking for the City Council's permission to hire an officer who would create Neighborhood Watch groups, build a gang-alternatives program and host regular crime-prevention meetings.

Also under consideration at Tuesday's council session is a proposal to eliminate one sheriff's motorcycle and one patrol position. Additionally, a new sergeant would be hired to do administrative work, freeing up the remaining sergeants to do more field work. No one, however, would be slapped with a pink slip, sheriff's said.

"It's a reallocation," he said. "No one will lose a job."

The new community policework effort would generally target areas under gang injunctions, including neighborhoods along the railroad tracks.

The program would result in "a decline of calls for law enforcement service in specific areas that have traditionally been disproportionately demanding of our resources," Meyer wrote in a report included in the agenda for Tuesday's City Council meeting.

Like most South Orange County cities, San Juan Capistrano contracts with the Orange County Sheriff's Department for its law enforcement services. The department is led by a sheriff's lieutenant who acts as the city's chief of police.

"The foundation for the most effective law enforcement services is a strong community oriented policing program," Meyer wrote in his report.

Meyer estimated his plan would save the city $43,013 in this fiscal year, and $65,171 in the next fiscal year.

The patrol position that would be deleted has traditionally been left vacant and occasionally staffed with a non-paid reserve deputy. The deputy currently filling the motorcycle position would be reassigned to patrol work when a new position opens.

"The two remaining motor deputies will be able to adequately handle traffic safety responsibilities," Meyer wrote in the report.

ALSO ON TUESDAY'S COUNCIL AGENDA, THE COUNCIL WILL:

  • Consider with new paving on the roads, more effective speed bumps and better directional signs. 
  • Honor Juan Camacho, a maintenance worker and 35-year employee at City Hall.
  • Hear a presentation from staffers on the city's utility meter reading and billing process.
  • Choose whether to grant $12,700 in fee waivers to the . The nonprofit intends to build the $270,000-public dog park in the Northwest Open Space.
  • Decide whether to amend an that sets timelines for the school to complete construction at its campus off Oso Road.

Tuesday's meeting starts at 6 p.m. in City Hall, 32400 Paseo Adelanto. To read the meeting's agenda in its entirety, visit the city's website.

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