• EDITORIAL: Is It Time to End the San Marino Police Department?


    Is It Time to End the San Marino Police Department?

    Why does little San Marino even have its own police department? Thatquestion demanded an answer last Thursday evening when an army of anarchists ofthe ‘Occupy’ movement assaulted a private residence in the middle of San Marinofor the third time.
    Obviously deferring to protesters who have apparently declared open season onSan Marino’s homes, the officers from the San Marino Police Department and fourother neighboring law enforcement agencies stood idly by as self-proclaimed‘protesters’ again descended on the home of longtime resident, civic leader,youth soccer coach, Honorary Rotary Paul Harris Fellow and Tribune Citizen ofthe Year Tim Sloan. The ‘Occupy’ mob trapped his wife and daughter insidewhile they trespassed on the Sloan’s Woodstock Road property.
    San Marino had only three or four officers on duty at the time. When our policechief finally arrived (ninety minutes after the attack) the SMPD had to rely onmutual aid from Pasadena, South Pasadena, Alhambra and San Gabriel beforedeclaring an unlawful assembly two hours after protesters showed up! Werethey lawful for the first two hours? How long is a mob allowed to threateninnocent women and children in San Marino? During the time it took the policeto end the threat to the homeowner, you could toss an overnight bag into yourcar, cruise up the 101 Freeway, check into a bed & breakfast in SantaBarbara and sip a glass of wine on the patio before our police could decidewhat charges to file.
    This third infringement on the Sloan residence asks another question: Iseverybody fair game in San Marino just because they have a good job?
    Three times now, and this was the worst. Three times!
    And what of our police department? Are they still operating under orders fromthe city council members “don’t do anything. Don’t chase the bad guys. Get themacross city limits where they are someone else’s problem.”
    Are they prohibited from protecting us by a council’s fear of a lawsuit? That’swhat The Tribune believes. Are they really told to circle the block two timeswith sirens blaring just to make sure the bad guys get away so our SMPD won’tcatch anybody and maybe get sued?
    Since when did a private residence become a public protest area? Under the law,it is not, but apparently if you live in San Marino, have a job, pay taxes andare a responsible citizen you are a target for any group with a gripe. It’shigh time for City Attorney Steve Dorsey to seek an injunction to keep peopleoff the Sloan’s and any other local property these trouble-makers attempt touse as a platform for their ‘cause.’ If they want to protest here, let them geta permit for Lacy Park. That same group got permits to march around DowntownLos Angeles on Tuesday to celebrate the worldwide communist worker’s “May Day”observance.
    What about our San Marino Police Chief John Schaefer? Is he acting on ordersfrom the city council to stand down or is this his attitude towards policework?
    Our men, women and children are now targets of any protester group that can getto San Marino. What is needed in response is a clear message from this policedepartment and this city council to the anarchists: Enough is enough.
    If the San Marino Police Department won’t defend San Marino and our residents,it’s time to ask Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca to take over. Sheriff Bacais a longtime San Marino resident. He raised his family here. He lives here.The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is not afraid to defend innocentwomen and children inside their homes. The SMPD apparently is afraid to do justthat. Rest assured that the Beverly Hills Police Department would never allowany group to target one of its families and force a mom and daughter to hide intheir own home while they stood and watched. Our sister newspaper, the BeverlyHills Courier, can attest to that.
    If the SMPD can’t (or won’t) defend a family from terrorists, it’s time to endthe SMPD and bring in the Sheriff’s Department. Tell Mayor Richard Sun and theSan Marino City Council, “Defend us or do away with our police department andget us some real law enforcement.”
    Call or write our city councilmembers. Tell them how you feel. Demand answers.If you don’t, maybe they’ll occupy your house and terrify your family.
    And, by the way, you don’t see Occupy protesters in La Cañada Flintridge wherethe Sheriff rides herd. That city has some rich people with jobs, too. If ourcity council cannot or will not fix this situation and make San Marino’s homesoff limits to invaders, the city council must be recalled…now.
    Three strikes and you’re out.

    City Manager Matt Ballantyne 300-0718
    Police Chief John Schaefer 300-0723
    Mayor RichardSun 512-9533
    Vice Mayor Richard Ward 795-9900
    Council Member Dennis Kneier 578-1109
    Council Member Eugene Sun 458-0216
    Council Member Allen Yung 308-3000

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    Most Recent Comments
    1 Comment for this article
    Added: May 21, 2012. 12:53 PM

    Dear Tribune,

    I was a long time police officer in San Marino and am a current resident of San
    Marino and many of the things you say are just not true. The police have never
    been told to drive around with their sirens on to make sure bad guys get away.
    This is ridiculous as well as illegal as sirens can only be operated under
    certain circumstances outlined in the California Vehicle Code and scaring away
    bad guys isn’t one of them. The SMPD has never had orders not to chase bad guys
    and to get them across city limits. That’s absurd.

    Our officers are very proactive and aggressive in the jobs of protecting us from
    criminal activity, from robberies and burglaries to protesters.

    Yes, everyone in San Marino and every other community is open to protesters.
    Protesting is a fundamental right given to every American. As long as it
    remains lawful and there’s no trespassing, no blocking of sidewalks or roadways
    it is legal.

    Your question about was it lawful for the first two hours is a great question.
    My guess would be yes, it probably was since it was allowed to continue. But
    neither you nor I were there so we can’t speak on that.

    San Marino works under a mutual aid agreement with several outside agencies and
    often gives and receives assistance under the agreement. It is nothing new to
    have officers from other agencies assist our department in situations that call
    for immediate manpower to protect and serve the residents. Our fire department
    works under a very similar agreement.

    Our officers were not a ship without a rudder just because Chief Schaefer didn’t
    arrive for 90 minutes, the department has a chain of command and can operate in
    the field just fine without a Chief there. In fact a Chief will often defer to
    their Field Supervisors in Field situations as they have more specific training
    in those cases.

    Do you think Sheriff Baca goes out and tells his SEB guys when to storm a house
    and rescue the hostage? Do you think Sheriff Baca tells his officers when to
    break up an unlawful assembly? Why do you think Sheriff Baca chose San Marino
    to live rather than La Canada, Temple City or other areas patrolled by his
    deputies? He can afford to live anywhere he likes. But he chose San Marino.
    Maybe he likes the SMPD protection, personal service and community based

    What about Chief Charlie Beck? The LA City Council? They allowed protesters to
    live in downtown LA on City property protesting for more than a week. They made
    deadlines and extended them. Then they even offered them FREE office space to
    make them go away. Do you think the SMPD, the SM City Council would allow
    protesters to set up camp on the city hall front yard like that? I’m guessing
    probably not.

    Having Sheriff Deputies patrolling our streets is the LAST thing we want in our
    community. Do you think that Deputies from Temple Station who transfer in and
    out of areas they patrol on a daily basis are going to take the time to get to
    know you, your kids or your businesses? Are you kidding? We have police
    officers at every Little League game on Saturdays getting to know the kids,
    talking to them, building a relationship with them and just being there. Do
    you think LASD would do that? Do you think you’d get the public service we
    enjoy now with the LASD here?
    Don’t misunderstand me, the LASD is one of the top law enforcement agencies in
    the world and I’m not slamming them but their deputies have a different mind set
    than our officers have. Our men and women are more community oriented, more cop
    on the beat than the LASD.

    I am proud of the way our officers behave, work and continue to protect with the
    Pride in Service they’ve had for as long as I can remember. The grass is not
    always greener on the other side of the fence.

    Scott Edmonds
    Lorain Road

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