City Council Meeting - February 17, 2009

I attended the city council meeting of Feb 17, 2009. Words of Inspiration Tony Truax of Revival Christian Fellowship gave the words of in...

I attended the city council meeting of Feb 17, 2009.

Words of Inspiration

Tony Truax of Revival Christian Fellowship gave the words of inspiration.

Eagle Scout Presentations

Councilman John Denver presented certificates of recognition to three recent Eagle Scouts, Thomas Spencer, Anthony Beck, and Nathan (?). I couldn't hear Nathan's last name. Denver went on to describe these three people's service in the scouts.

Menifee Police Department Quarterly Report

Police Chief James McElvain gave the quarterly report consisting of three parts, the first part was an introduction of the staff, the second a description of the Police Explorer Program, and third were crime statistics.

As for the introduction of staff, he described his department's "zone policing" system, whereby the city is divided into four zones. Each zone has its own team of officers. In most cases, officers focus on their zones, but in certain cases they can assist officers in other zones. He also introduced every officer, and sergeant, and read their service history and experience.

The Police Explorer Program is similar to the Army ROTC, except it's part of the Boy Scouts. Boys ages 15-21 years can enter into the program and help out the police department. They do help with traffic control, search for lost persons, assist at crime scenes, assist at DUI check points, fingerprint kids at events, and dress up as McGruff the Crime Dog. It's supposed to be a recruitment tool into the police department. McElvain says it would cost the city about $26,000 per year to run.

Opinion: Sounds like a good program, but it also sounds like the city would be paying money to recruit people into the county's Sheriff department. If that's the case, would the Sheriff discount the city's policing contract by $26,000 per year?

As for the crime statistics, McElvain said that in October 2008, we had 2,907 calls, of which 157 were "Part 1 Crimes". Part 1 Crimes are those of a highly serious nature whereby the FBI would get involved. In November 2008, the calls decreased to 2,721 calls and 100 Part 1, and in December it shot up to 3,149 calls and 156 Part 1.

Average response times had improved from 2007 to 2008, with "priority 1" calls, which are life threatening cases in progress, taking only 7.2 minutes to respond. McElvain didn't explain what "respond" means, but I'm sure with priority 1 calls, it means putting a person on scene in that amount of time. With priority 2 calls, which are less threatening, the response time was 10.3 minutes. Priority 3 calls, which are past events and totally non-threatening, took only 13.6 minutes.

Traffic citations in October 2008 amounted to 288. In November it dipped down to 240. But in December it shot up to 349. McElvain says that the reason why it dipped down to 240 in November is because residents were testing the new police department with calls, and hence had to take more officers off of traffic patrol. I was puzzled by this because a couple of paragraphs above, he said that calls in November dipped down from October. So who knows.

And with traffic collisions during the last quarter of 2008, there were 48 non-injury collisions, 17 injury collisions, 2 fatal collisions, and 21 DUI arrests.

Mayor Edgerton chimed in and asked McElvain if increasing the number of citations brings in more revenue for the city. He didn't really have the answer to that question, so city attorney Betsy Martyn took over and basically said "yes", but explained that the city only gets a small portion of that money. The money actually goes to the county court, who then dispurses it to the County, who then gives a small portion of it to the city. On top of that, State lawmakers are right now considering legislation to take even more of this money away from cities to address the budget.

Public Comments

These are public comments unrelated to anything on the agenda...

Eric Dorati, says he has driven to all four corners of the city and is amazed at how big it is, and complimented the city council members for taking on such a big task. Commented on what he described as "the two naysayers who show up twice a month", which I think he's referring to Chuck Reutter and Anne Pica, and then finished by saying, "You cannot steer this into a great city by look