‘Coffee with a Deputy’ recap

Sgt. Theresa Dawson (left), patrol deputies, and members of the city's Public Safety Office were on hand to address residents' concerns at 'Coffee with a Deputy' Thursday morning.

LANCASTER – The Vacation Watch Program, speeding in school zones, and neighborhood crime mapping were just a few of several issues brought up at the first monthly “Coffee with a Deputy” meeting, which took place Thursday morning.

The program is designed to create a comfortable atmosphere where community members can meet with deputies from the Lancaster Station to address problems facing them in their community.

Attending the first meeting Thursday, were team members from the City of Lancaster’s Public Safety Office, two Lancaster Station patrol deputies, and the program’s key point of contact, Sgt. Theresa Dawson.

Dawson said she attended the meeting in plain clothes because she wanted to be more approachable to members of the community.

“I want them to feel like they can talk to us in a nonthreatening environment,” Dawson said.

Lancaster resident Robert Sunderman, who is a member of his area’s Neighborhood Watch Team, asked about the department’s response time to neighborhood watch calls, about the department’s Vacation Watch Program, and whether there was a mechanism that would allow residents to know where parolees were located.

Dawson said because deputies get extremely busy handling emergency calls, there was an alternate method for reporting nonemergency incidents, including neighborhood watch calls. She said residents could file many police reports online at the City’s website at www.cityoflancasterca.org.

You can report certain incidents online by visiting the city website and clicking "File a Police Report."

At the very top of the page is a link, titled “File a Police Report.” Several types of reports can be filed online, including lost property, vandalism, harassing telephone calls, and theft from an unlocked vehicle, theft of vehicle parts and theft from a yard or open space.

Dawson said residents can take advantage of the Sheriff’s Department’s Vacation Watch Program, when leaving town for any period of time. To do so, residents need to come into the station and fill out a form. Then deputies routinely drive by residents’ homes while they are away to check for suspicious activity. If deputies spot suspicious activity, they contact the absent resident at the emergency contact number provided.

Deputies advised Sunderman that there was no mechanism in place that would allow residents to map their neighborhood for parolees, however, there was a unit within the Sheriff’s Department specially assigned to check on parolees to ensure they were compliant with the terms of parole.

Additionally, members from the City’s Public Safety Office detailed how residents can use an online crimemapping system to see if and where criminal activity occurs in their neighborhoods. Visit www.crimemapping.com and enter your address in the search area, then select the radius around your address where you would like to check for criminal activity. The system also allows residents to receive text or email alerts when crime happens in their neighborhood. Access this feature by clicking on “Receive Crime Alerts.”

The group also discussed speeding in school zones. Dawson said the department routinely deployed traffic deputies to school zones to check for speeders.

“It’s not that we’re trying to create revenue, it’s that we’re trying to save lives,” Dawson said. “When somebody runs a stop sign at 30 [mph] you’re going to have damage to the vehicle, but when somebody runs a stop sign at 70 [mph], somebody dies.”

Dawson also explained some of the pressures that deputies face everyday. She said deputies respond to numerous calls with little to no breaks in between.

“You may have someone who just picked up a four-year-old off the ground after an accident, then a couple of minutes later, they respond to your call about somebody’s dog barking too loud,” Dawson said. “If you knew what they were facing before your call, it might put things into perspective.”

She said residents often call to report when a deputy does something bad, but rarely call to report when deputies do good. She said calling every once in a while to commend a deputy’s work could do wonders to build officer morale.

“People don’t see us as individuals, but we live in this community, so we care about what happens out here because it’s our community,” Dawson said.

Thursday’s “Coffee with a Deputy” was not very well attended, but organizers are hoping that attendance will grow as the program continues.

The next ‘Coffee with a Deputy’ meeting will be held at 8 a.m., Thursday, April 12, at Bandstand Coffee, located at 706 West Lancaster Boulevard in Lancaster.

  21 comments for “‘Coffee with a Deputy’ recap

  1. February 14, 2013 at 12:07 am

    This unique post, “‘Coffee with a Deputy’ recap” ended up being remarkable.
    I am printing out a copy to show my friends. Thanks-Winfred

  2. June 7, 2012 at 12:35 am

    Next Thursday, June 14th @ 0800 Lancaster Sheriff’s Station will be having another “Coffee with a Deputy” at the Lemon Leaf Cafe, 653 W. Lancaster Blvd. Please feel free to stop by and say hi, or to get info about starting a Neighborhood Watch, crime prevention strategies,report crime ect. And just to clear up some misconceptions,,,, I started this program. The deputies who attend volunteer to come. The program has two purposes: create better relationships between us and the community we serve and to take criminals to jail. To take criminals to jail we need your help. If you do not trust us, you will not talk to us. If you do not feel comfortable talking to us, you will never learn to trust us. In a setting such as a “coffee” community members are able to interact with their deputies in a non threatening environment. Thank you for your time. Sincerely, Theresa

  3. believe it!
    March 25, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    Ace, for god’s sake, put down the pipe…or bottle..whichever you are using. I wouldn’t want your psycho emails….I’m sure the cops don’t either!

  4. really
    March 25, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    Stupidest idea ever…. we dont need to get to know our deputies… we dont need a forum for all the neighboorhood watch captains to voice there concerns… WAKE UP!!! this valley has become a cespool. We need the citizens to stop being milk toast punks who call the cops because kids are playing basketball in the street…or skateboarding at a school… We need citizens who realize this valley is screwed unless they very clearly and loudly demand that the criminal element be declared public enemy number 1. They need to say i dont want coffee with a deputy i want that deputy out harrasing criminals and taking them to jail at all costs. Furthermore when these groups try to allege abuse and that they r victims the public needs to loudly and forcibly say F U you are a criminal get the F out of our town. I wanna see deputies that know they have the publics backing to do what is neccesary to turn this valley around…

    • believe it!
      March 25, 2012 at 4:53 pm

      My sentiments exactly! I’m sure those cops didn’t want to be there either but probably got forced to. Unfortunately Baca, and the lefties have tried to turn policing into a hug-a-thug social program. I’d rather see those cops with a few thugs in their back seats or on their hoods.

  5. Boscoe
    March 25, 2012 at 8:51 am

    I love “dog and pony” shows….

  6. Gladdis
    March 9, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    Considering there was NO Advertising for this coffee, the Public Safety Office is lucky they had 1 person show up. They did NOT notify any Neighborhood Watch Block Captains or groups about the coffee being held on 3/8. A few of us found out the day before, however,with such short notice only Bob was able to attend. The Public Safety Office probably didn’t want anyone to come, so they could once again, cancel for lack of interest. My opinion.

    • Facts
      March 9, 2012 at 8:17 pm

      Gladdis, it was advertised. Just admit that you missed it. By the way, did you notice the next “Coffee with a Deputy” meeting date, time and location is listed at the end of this story? Now you have a month’s advance notice. Tell all of your friends and make sure to show up and show your support……or OPINION.

      • Boscoe
        March 25, 2012 at 8:48 am

        Ghee “Facts”, why not just call Gladdis a liar? We never heard of this either…guess we have to take the AV (Daily Rag) Press to hear about it?

      • Gladdis
        March 25, 2012 at 4:28 pm

        I found the AV Times posting the day before the meeting. I wasn’t aware of the AV Times before that. Yes, I missed it, I was not available. I was at my daughters funeral. However, I did let as many people as I could know about the meeting that seemed to be a well kept secret. Infact, the only citizen that went was someone I had told about the event. Hopefully, next time (April 12), you and your friends won’t be able to act like you sent out invitations to your birthday party and no one came.

        • linda
          March 25, 2012 at 6:08 pm

          My heart goes out to you, Gladdis. My son was killed by a drunk driver on 2/26/12.

          I have a great deal of respect, gratitude, and admiration for our law enforcement. Sure the department is not perfect but to me being supportive of law enforcement is as natural as showing support for our armed forces.

          And where’s all this community outrage when it comes to reporting crime or stepping forward as a witness?? Making a community a good place to live isn’t only the sheriff’s job.

  7. Sam
    March 9, 2012 at 9:11 am

    Although I could not make it, I want to thank the deputies for their service. I recently retired from the military and moved to AV. I always heard crime was an issue but has been getting better. My family and I feel safe on the West side but sometimes going East of the 14 you really have to watch your surroundings. For example, I don’t feel it is safe to take my kids to Toys R Us on Ave K.

    • Boscoe
      March 25, 2012 at 8:49 am

      Sam..you can’t go east on the 14, it runs north and south. Just sayin…welcome to the AV brother….

      • common sense
        March 25, 2012 at 8:59 am

        I think Sam’s referring to the 14 running north/south through the Valley, and that he doesn’t like traveling east of it, toward the east side of town.

  8. Mike Rives
    March 8, 2012 at 7:12 pm

    I wish the AV TIMES would have reported that I attended as a citizen and a candidate for the Lancaster City Council. No other elected official or potential official showed up. I engaged the Sgt present in a meaningful disucssion.

    • Dolores
      March 8, 2012 at 7:27 pm

      I notice that the deputies were weriging thier bullet proof vest…. how many people actually showed up?

      • really
        March 8, 2012 at 7:47 pm

        Delores are you serious… the article states they were patrol Deputies. That means they were on duty and probably handled calls for service before coffee and went right back to it after. Also why do you care, I bet if your family member was two doors down and suddenly became crime victims you would be glad that those two fine Deputies were prepared to be Your savior

        • James
          March 9, 2012 at 7:52 am

          I bet their trigger fingers were itchy.. to become a savior and all.

          • really
            March 9, 2012 at 10:17 am

            James you obviously are biased to one side. You want Deputies to be proffesional and treat each person as an individual with rights (which by the way I agree with), however you are not willing to do the same. Nothing will ever change until citizens and law enforcement look at eachother the same way. As individuals who have rights and should be judged on their individual actions.

    • Jen
      March 9, 2012 at 11:24 am

      waaah…waah…waaah! get over yourself buddy!!!!!!!!!

Comments are closed.