Overtime weighed for patrols

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESanta Anita opens winter meet Saturday with loaded card Though the county has pledged funding for three new Community Oriented Policing Service deputies for the Santa Clarita Valley – including two in the west side, Nordenstrom said extra patrols could help defuse the tensions. “It would be a limited amount of funds – a month, maybe two – until the new COPS team gets up to speed up here,” she said. “It will bring it back to a quieter level.” James Stephens, president of the funding committee, said members likely will consider the proposal – the next meeting is scheduled Feb. 13. But he said he has brought up the issue with officials at the Santa Clarita sheriff’s station and county Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich’s office. “We do not wish to duplicate any efforts that are rights for us as taxpayers,” Stephens said. “They will guarantee sufficient police until the COPS program starts.” “Supervisor Antonovich shares the concern of the community when we have an increase in gang violence,” said Tony Bell, spokesman for the 5th District supervisor. “We’re working with the Sheriff’s Department to ensure the community has added security.” VAL VERDE – Local residents are proposing paying overtime for sheriff’s deputies to help keep the peace in the remote canyon community after recent confrontations between residents and suspected gang members. The town’s Community Benefits Funding Committee, which oversees more than $1 million in payouts from a neighboring landfill, has used the money to pay for extra patrols when vandalism problems arose – about $6,000 a month for several months in the summer of 2003. Resident Gina Nordenstrom brought the idea to the seven-member panel, which decides how to spend annual payments of more than $250,000 from the Chiquita Canyon Landfill as part of an expansion deal reached nearly a decade ago. She said the community of 1,500 west of Castaic has been tense since a suspected gang member brandished a gun at her neighbor and his two children outside a local convenience store a week ago, which led to an arrest by Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies. Days later, someone made a death threat against her neighbor. Sheriff’s detectives are investigating. Some $9 million has been allocated for 103 community deputies in unincorporated Los Angeles County, though all the positions likely won’t be filled until June, said Anna Pembedjian, Antonovich’s justice deputy. The first of three COPS deputies arrived at the Santa Clarita station this month. But Nordenstrom believes something could be done now. “Everybody knows the sheriffs are overextended,” she said. “So we’re either supposed to not get the results because of lack of funding so these things can escalate again, or spend the money on something that’s worked before.” The committee paid out-of-pocket to contract for extra patrols by deputies in the summer of 2003, when Val Verde was confronted with a rash of vandalism. Just a year before, the community saw several cases of suspected arson. “There were a lot of streetlights being shot out, cars had windshields busted out,” said Vince Cantella, who served on the benefits committee until last year. “It was the type of thing that led to the community at that time to put together a petition requesting we go ahead and do something. … Things seemed to stabilize and go back the other way.” Eugene Tong, (661) 257-5253 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img