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Temporary Gang Suppression Effort Deemed a Success by Novato Police

But chief warns that rescheduling of personnel comes at a sacrifice to other parts of the police force.

Novato’s police chief said a two-week concentrated effort to was a rousing success, but continuing the effort is unlikely because of the lack of available personnel.

The department started July 20 with its ad hoc gang enforcement/street crimes unit using existing officers and no more overtime than usual, Chief Joseph Kreins said Thursday. But other important tasks were put on hold so extra anti-gang patrols could be scheduled.

Officers made contact with 37 members or associates of gangs, including Crips, Surenos, Nortenos and white supremacists. Six were arrested and face felony charges.

Novato PD committed two detectives, a sergeant and two officers to work with representatives from the Marin County Major Crimes Task Force, the Marin County Coordination of Probation Enforcement team, San Rafael police and the Marin County Probation Department.

Why can’t it just continue?

“You can only stretch the scheduling adjustments so far,” Kreins said. “Those two investigators we pulled off … their cases didn’t go away for two weeks. Those two patrol officers, their teams were at minimum staffing while they were away. So while they were working on the gang suppression, all that other work was piling up.”

Kreins’ department staffing is at 55 sworn officers — matching a level of 20 years ago — and is about a dozen fewer than San Rafael or Petaluma. He said the return on investment with the temporary anti-gang unit was very high, but he will continue to lobby for two officers to focus on anti-gang efforts full-time. He said that would cost the city about $250,000 annually.

“I’ve lobbied for that since the day I got here,” he said. “Even just having two officers on that assignment would pay tremendous dividends. In my opinion, if we were going to spend some money, this is the most bang for our buck. I just don’t think there’s a more important need out there. The results speak for themselves.”

Other results of the experiment included:

— Approximately 92 traffic stops on suspected gang members.

— 17 misdemeanor arrests of gang members.

— 8 probation searches.

— 26 hours of foot patrol in areas known for gang activity.

— Sharing of gang intelligence with allied agencies.

— Seizure of weapons and drugs.

— Vehicle impounds.

Novato police Lt. Keith Heiden said ultimately it will be for the chief to decide what happens next, but he was pleased with the information gathered during the stepped-up enforcement period.

“It was interesting to see the different types of gangs we contacted,” he said. “Personally the one I was surprised about was the Crips member (out of Southern California).

“I can tell you it was satisfying because when we get into police work it’s because we want to help somebody, but we also like to be proactive and suppress crime if we can. Part of helping people is protecting people, and these types of operations make our city safer.”

Kreins said the benefits of the two-week enforcement period will be long-term because of the contacts made in the gangs and other peripheral associates. Identify gang members now, even if they are not arrested for breaking any laws, is part of the intelligence gathering process that can really aid crime investigators down the line, he said.

“If nothing else, this has them looking over their shoulders,” he said.

Tina McMillan August 08, 2011 at 01:03 AM
Really it just takes Leslie and one more new council member to shift some of the voting direction. Pat Ecklund has shown fiscal restraint on a lot of issues and has supported our local police force for her entire tenure on the council. I don't think I can agree with anyone all of the time. No matter who gets elected there will be some issues that remain conflictual. I am waiting to see all the candidates' positions on the issues. I would like to know what we are getting into.
Leslie Schwarze August 08, 2011 at 01:04 AM
Gee, I appreciate all the nice comments. FYI--because one of the incumbents has chosen not to run, the deadline to file has been extended. No one will know for sure exactly who is running until some time the week of August 15th. It is true you need to have 3 votes to get anything done. That constitutes a majority for City Council. What is more problematic than getting 3 to agree is the fact that topics of interest to the citizenry of Novato are relegated to a "second tier" list and therefore never agendized to begin with. Toni and I have been on a human hamster wheel for almost a year trying to get them to do something proactive. Her cause has been Wyndover, mine has been to re-establish the joint City Council/School Board meetings that used to be held annually. Everything brought forward by the community is pushed aside as not urgent to the Council's agenda. It is no wonder people get frustrated! I am confident that the community's concerns, framed through the political debate that will occur leading up to the election, will give us the momentum to tackle these issues once the new Council is seated.
Jerome J Ghigliotti Jr August 08, 2011 at 01:26 AM
I am sorry, Tina, but you are wrong. It will take three new council members to change the demise of community values in Novato. You will need three candidates who make a public commitment to 1-oppose ALL affordable housing, not just this lot or that density, 2-adopt the Legal Employment and Contracting ordinance, 3-fire the city manager, and 4-fire the police chief. If either MacLeamy or Kellner remain on the council there will be a whole lot of talk about doing the right thing, and NOTHING getting done. The three should run as one person, as a "ticket", three names on the same signs.
SHROYER FOR SUPERVISOR 2014 August 08, 2011 at 02:13 AM
We need Leslie Peterson Schwarze on Novato's City Council! Leslie would not cut police services that are so needed! Novato supports the NPD and we need them to keep up with the Gang Busting!
Tom S Baker August 08, 2011 at 03:06 AM
Wow You just don't understand , The gang busters are all back at the old jobs they had two weeks ago, investigations, office patrol and so on The gang task force is NO MORE . It only lasted two weeks . Leslie by her self won't change anything GET IT NOTHING . All you are doing on here is hurting Leslie because you talk like she is going to join a one woman council . Council has five members not just Leslie and they all vote, Not just Leslie Gang force is gone BYE BYE No longer in action . Leslie If she wins one vote . ONE VOTE ONLY
Tina McMillan August 08, 2011 at 03:42 AM
Jerome You and I see these issues very differently. I am not in favor of opposing all affordable housing as that would include senior housing, workforce housing and disabled housing. There have been a lot of excellent suggestions on Patch about how to approach city planning on the AH issue. I support the Balanced Housing element which is one reason why I support Leslie's run for council. I don't see it as necessary to fire everyone. I do think two new council members along with Pat Ecklund equals three votes in a positive direction. But even with one new council member I believe there is a chance that the current council will listen, particularly if it is a voice as credible as Leslie's. Leslie's years on the School Board speak for themselves. In my opinion, Jeanne MacLeamy has come forward many times on many issues with points of view I can appreciate and though I don't always agree with Madeleine Kellner I respect her. Denise Athas is a newcomer and I think Carole has done her part for Novato for a long time and it is good that she is stepping down. So you see Jerome, though we may appear to be on the same side of the issue we have a very different approach to its resolution. I would never sue the city because I was asked to turn and face the council or leave the room.
Jeanie Jacobson August 08, 2011 at 04:09 AM
Thanks, Trish, for acknowledgment of Shroyer. Kudos to her efforts of the Ad Hoc Ctizens Committee and Pennies for Police Dogs. We too will be supporting Leslie Peterson Schwarze for City Council.
Tina McMillan August 08, 2011 at 04:18 AM
Homer Pat Ecklund has fought the reductions in our police force all the way. Check her voting record. If Leslie succeeds then there are two people on the council with strong views pro police views. Denise Athas is a relative newcomer. It may not be the end of the world. All five individuals have integrity. I don't always agree with their decisions but I do see them as people who care a lot for our city or they wouldn't be on the council.
Susan Clark August 08, 2011 at 04:51 AM
We need to vote in THREE new city council members this fall. While we have the opportunity, let's do it right!!!
Jerome J Ghigliotti Jr August 08, 2011 at 02:06 PM
Yes! Thank you.
Eldon August 08, 2011 at 10:21 PM
I have personally seen the increase of rif raf.. and have seen alot of NPD calls going to Wyndover apts, let Wyndover know how you feel about there renting practices, no background checks etc they are doing a dis service to our city http://www.wyndover-apts.com/Apartments/module/property_info/property[id]/24603/launch_guest_card/1/
Eldon August 09, 2011 at 03:58 PM
news update... shocking.. not..... NPD sent to 809 Diablo once again Aug 8th aprox 9.15 PM
Jerome J Ghigliotti Jr August 09, 2011 at 07:09 PM
Wyndover is our burden. We cannot tolerate ANY more "affordable housing" at taxpayer expense. "Redevelopment" tax monies are spent and the properties are tax exempt, yet they draw public services expenses above the average taxpayer. Please read the 1964 Civil Rights Act. No where does it require that anyone provide taxpayer supported housing. It says that housing should be made "equally" accessible, no preferences, at market prices. Only the Sacramento leftists and the city council mandate supported housing. No, I am NOT attacking senior or disabled assistance. I object to welfare/felons who are constantly taught how to manipulate the system so that they are a lifetime drain on society.
Ellen Breazeale August 11, 2011 at 12:25 AM
Jerome -- Are you running for the Council? The City Clerk doesn't have you recorded as having submitted papers to run. You have to submit the papers by August 17. Many of us would love to see you run. We share your views on the situation in Novato. Please run. Thanks.
Steven Norwin August 11, 2011 at 03:36 AM
I second what Ellen below has asked you. You have my vote.
Jerome J Ghigliotti Jr August 11, 2011 at 04:26 AM
Ellen, Steven, I have taken out papers, but not returned them. I am not prepared to run, because I have no election committee. I need a chair, an accountant/ bookkeeper, and a fund raiser, at a very minimum. I cannot do it all myself. I bought advertising space in the Patch, and had zero responses. I will run, but I cannot do it all myself. My POB is 787, 94948 for anyone who wants to set up a committee.
Tina McMillan August 11, 2011 at 05:12 AM
http://www.google.com/search?q=Housing+Element+Law+Mandates+and+Risks+of+Defiance&rls=com.microsoft:en-us:IE-SearchBox&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&sourceid=ie7&rlz=1I7GGLD_en HOUSING ELEMENT LAW: MANDATES AND RISKS OF DEFIANCE Prepared by Office of County Council Santa Barbara July 2007 This is a 26 page report prepared by counsel for the County Board of Supervisors for Santa Barbara in 2007 examining legal ramifications of ignoring housing element laws. Cases and outcomes are listed at the end.
Leslie Schwarze August 11, 2011 at 05:30 AM
Hi Tina, I appreciate you posting the link to what happened in Santa Barbara as it is often referenced when it comes to Housing Elements. It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the future since SB375 didn't become law until 2008. It could be viewed as even more restrictive. I think we need a lot of good thinkers from all over California to fight what they plan to implement using SB375 as the new sledge hammer.
Jerome J Ghigliotti Jr August 11, 2011 at 06:07 AM
Yes, Ms. McMillan, Housing Element laws are why the citizens of Novato are standing up on their hind legs in open rebellion. You and the other leftist social engineers may think that you know what is good for us, and since you are self-righteous, you may think that you have a right to shove your social engineering laws down our throats. But you cannot do so unless we roll over. Why do you think that I have berated the council for a full year, public awareness. Why do you think that Toni Shroyer speaks to the council, public awareness? Why do you think that Leslie Swarze is running for the council, public demand. We are fighting your quest to take our community values away from us, and some of us will fight you to our death. I do not suggest "ignoring" housing element laws. I am suggesting fighting to overturn housing element laws, and that is what the Novato City Council should have been doing for the past year. And that is why they will not be re-elected. If you like Antioch and Richmond and Pomona so much, why don't you move there? If you win, you will do so over my cold, dead body!
Leslie Schwarze August 11, 2011 at 07:12 AM
Thanks, Tina. I am part of a county wide group that has been analyzing SB375 and its potential impact on us. While there is plenty of room for debate as to how powerful the legislation is, what makes us unique in the Bay Area is ABAG and the various non--profits who are working in an opportunistic way while us regular folks go about our daily lives. We happen to have one of the most radical regional government associations in California. That coupled with groups like Greenbelt Alliance is a perfect storm. Last Fall I heard Greenbelt Alliance tell a group of Marinites that we currently have 27 acres per person of open space. By the year 2035 their goal is for us to be down to 1 acre per person and they want this done without touching any open space. So, if they have their way we will substitute horizontal urban sprawl for vertical urban sprawl. The Greenbelt Alliance spokesperson presented herself as speaking for the youth of the county. That really upset my two daughters and their friends since they all aspire to eventually settle down in this area...without requiring a government subsidy.
Tina McMillan August 11, 2011 at 08:08 AM
Jerome You have clearly not read my posts. I provided information about AB375 (and have commented before on Agenda 21) because I want people to know what their representatives are legislating and I think there is power in information. I find your claims libelous. I know how particular you are about words. You need to check your facts before you fling around inflammatory rhetoric. I am not a leftist. I have no desire to shove non sustainable housing down anyone's throats. I am not self righteous. I don't believe in social engineering. Jerome, you are so filled with self righteousness yourself that you don't even know what you're saying. It is incredibly frustrating to engage in dialogue with you about anything when you jump to conclusions and proceed to berate me for not seeing things the same way you do.
Tina McMillan August 11, 2011 at 08:17 AM
Leslie I would be interested in learning more about your group. Since reading about the AH issue here in Novato I have also been studying Agenda 21 which ties into the same concept of high density housing around central transportation hubs throughout suburban areas. It seems to me that the folks behind AB375 and Agenda 21 want to eliminate suburban and rural housing and substitute urban housing throughout California. Ultimately we would be forced to live in small, crowded areas with the land around us belonging to the government or private non profits. I believe we can maintain private property with land belonging to individuals and still protect the environment and increase our quality of life. I do not support current environmental/social engineering legislation. It has gone too far.
Tina McMillan August 11, 2011 at 08:18 AM
Leslie Thanks for bringing up AB375. Here is a link for folks that want to read more. http://www.cp-dr.com/node/2140 "SB 375, the anti-sprawl bill signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger last night, is both more and less powerful than it’s advertised to be, and whether it leads to sweeping change depends on how aggressively California’s regional planning agencies implement it. It’s more powerful than advertised because it contains potentially revolutionary changes in California’s arcane processes of regional planning for transportation and housing – largely by mandating the creation of “sustainable” regional growth plans….It also has the potential to significantly rearrange the Regional Housing Needs Assessment process, and provides significant breaks under the California Environmental Quality Act for certain types of transit-oriented projects." Leslie I would like to support your run for council. My email is tinagmcbaytree@comcast.net. Let me know how I can help.
Bob Ratto August 11, 2011 at 02:52 PM
Tina Jerome either owes you an apology, or we all need to make an effort to improve his ability to pay attention! Good posts on Agenda 21 and SB375. When I read a lot of Agenda 21 a while ago, it really boils down to lowering our standard of living (which is somehow supposed to improve that of others, which is nonsensical).
Sylvia Barry August 11, 2011 at 03:44 PM
Jerome - you are wrong about Tina. Read more of her posts. She does much research, shares what she finds, is analytical and looks for the right way and right balance to support what she believes is right. I also find her to be open to different opinions to certain degree (everybody has his/her own belief)
Tina McMillan August 11, 2011 at 03:46 PM
Bob Thanks for the support.
Trish Boorstein August 11, 2011 at 05:56 PM
It's imperative that we all stay engaged and fight this agenda. We all have our own styles that we must honor without berating each other. We can't afford to snuff ourselves out! Pat Eklund and I attended the most recent ABAG Board meeting in Oakland last month. Other than a few local residents, I spoke specifcally about Priority Development Areas (PDA) in Marin Co. and how Novato made no such request due to the impact it would have on our community. Since the County of Marin and San Rafael were the only two who requested PDAs, I told ABAG that Novato and other Marin jurisdictions must not absorb any of SR's or Marin Co.'s new housing quota. Both have to accept their PDA burdern. I made the following request,"Novato requests that in Revised or Alternate Scenarios, ABAG holds the County of Marin and the City of San Rafael responsible for 100% of their new PDA housing allocation." I also reminded them of Novato's 20% of Marin's population and how Novato provides 33% of the Affordable Housing. We also spoke about reinstating the SOI 50/50 split between County and cities. After I spoke an Oakland Council member complained about how Oakland keeps having to build more and more affordable housing and how she thought all the other cities were supposed to take their share. Ken Kirby beautifully inserted something like, "At the next Scenario we will take into account what Oakland has built and have other cities like Peidmont do more" I almost fell out of my chair!!!! In a way...
Trish Boorstein August 11, 2011 at 06:06 PM
Novato is like the Oakland of Marin County! That's why this whole agenda isn't going to work. The Novato's, Oakland's, etc., out there have to but the brakes on this planning! We have to show up and continue shoving a hot poker at them at all levels. There will be another meeting in the Fall, to take up Eklund's sweat equity research about the SOI split.
Jerome J Ghigliotti Jr August 11, 2011 at 06:14 PM
Excellent. Thank you for expressing community values.
Susan Clark August 19, 2011 at 02:28 AM
And how much money was spent by the council memebers and city manager for consultants??? We could have funded another year of gang force patrol. Too much waste and no clue by our so called leaders!!!

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