On March 23, 2017 members of the Citrus Heights American Legion Post 637 presented Police Chief Ron Lawrence and Commander Gina Anderson with a donation that will help bring a life-saving program to the Citrus Heights Police Department (CHPD).
One of the realities both law enforcement and the military share is the high rate of mental health disorders and suicides in both professions. The CHPD is working to bring Kevin M. Gilmartin, Ph.D., an internationally acclaimed expert on this issue to Citrus Heights to present a workshop to their police officers and families.
Vice Commander Sylvia Thweatt presented the donation, saying their members stand behind the police department and wanted to contribute towards this endeavor. Commander Anderson thanked the Legion for their donation, acknowledging the spiritual bond shared by the police and military, both sworn to defend the Constitution and to protect the people.
The workshop will help officers understand and learn how to cope with the emotional “Hypervigilance Rollercoaster” they face daily, so they can maintain healthy relationships and retire with their mental health intact.
A fundraiser is being held to generate the funds to bring Gilmartin, author of “A Guide for Law Enforcement Officers and Their Families” to Citrus Heights. The General Federation of Women’s Clubs (GFWC) Citrus Heights Women’s Club and GFWC Sutter District are bringing “A Taste of Citrus Heights” to the Citrus Heights Community Center on April 28, 2017 to raise these funds.
The event will bring many local restaurants together for the public to sample their menu items, along with wine and beer, music and comedy. Look for more details on the event in future issues of the Messenger.
For information on purchasing tickets for “Taste of Citrus Heights” or if you own a restaurant or food truck and would like to participate at no cost, call 505-9221, go to www.tasteofcitrusheights.com.
Metro Fire recently opened the application period for Fire Camp, a day camp that takes place from July 11-14, 2017. Fire Camp provides local children a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience today’s fire service, first hand. The program is designed to instill self-confidence, teamwork, teach life safety skills and provide a basic understanding of the firefighting profession, in a fun and exciting atmosphere.
Campers are grouped in “strike teams” of eight campers, and each strike team is mentored by two Metro Firefighters. Campers learn valuable life safety skills, while discovering what it means to be a firefighter.
To attend Fire Camp, applicants must be 11, 12 or 13 years of age, with preference given to those living within Metro Fire’s boundaries. Applications are processed in the order in which they are received, so apply early for a better chance of securing a spot. Deadline to apply is June 5, 2017.
For applications and more information, visit our website: www.metrofire.ca.gov.
On March 15, 2017, Citrus Heights Police arrested a 16-year old student who was in possession of a loaded handgun on campus. An anonymous tip led school resource officers to contact the student, and a search of his backpack yielded the handgun and suspected marijuana.
The Citrus Heights Police Department received information that a male San Juan High School student may be in possession of a weapon on campus. School resource officers arrived at the school and contacted the student, a 16-year old Citrus Heights resident. A search of his backpack revealed a loaded handgun and suspected marijuana packaged for sale. The student was arrested and booked at the Sacramento County Juvenile Hall on charges of Possession of a Concealed Firearm, Possession of Concealed Firearm on School Grounds, and Possession of Marijuana for Sale.
The investigation is ongoing, and the suspect’s name and picture will not be released because he is juvenile.
This event appears to be an isolated incident and based on our investigation we do not believe there is any further risk to the public.
The Citrus Heights Police want to remind all students and parents that all weapons are prohibited on school campuses and encourage people with information on suspicious activity to contact local law enforcement immediately.
In his continued efforts to fight against the illegal fire tax, Senator Ted Gaines (R-El Dorado) announced on March 2nd Senate Bill 9, a measure to repeal the tax.
‘This fire tax is illegal and unfair – plain and simple,” said Senator Gaines. “Many rural property owners already pay local fire agencies for protection so it is clearly double-taxation and it is being dumped on the backs of rural Californians when parts of my district still have a more than 10-percent unemployment rate and families are struggling to make ends meet.”
Senate Bill 9 would reverse the annual $152.33 “fee” for fire prevention services charged to rural property owners located in “State Responsibility Areas” (SRA) designated by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE), even though their property taxes already contribute to the service contracts that counties have with CAL FIRE.
The fire tax is imposed on more than 800,000 properties in the state that are within the boundaries of SRA. According to census and CAL FIRE data, Senator Gaines’ largely rural district includes roughly 20-percent or approximately 160,000 of the properties whose owners are subject to the fee.
Senator Gaines contends that the fire tax attempts to sidestep Proposition 26, the initiative passed in 2010 that prevents the Legislature from disguising taxes as “fees” and circumventing constitutional requirements for passing higher taxes. He has been a leading critic of the tax and has introduced numerous pieces of legislation in previous years that attempted to provide relief for rural Californians. Senator Gaines also strongly supports the lawsuit filed against the state by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association challenging the fee on constitutional grounds.
“I have fought this illegal tax at every turn and I encourage everyone who is stuck paying this phony fee to get in the arena and fight it too,” said Senator Gaines. “The answer to fire protection in California is not illegal taxes, but budgets that invest in core government services that protect every citizen in the state – rural, urban and suburban.”
Senator Ted Gaines represents the 1st Senate District, which includes all or parts of Alpine, El Dorado, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, Shasta, Sierra and Siskiyou counties.
On Wednesday, January 25, 2017, the City of Citrus Heights and the Citrus Heights Police Department participated in Sacramento Steps Forward’s ‘Point in Time’ (PIT) homeless count to assist the organization in getting the best picture possible of homelessness in Citrus Heights, so that financial and other resources can be allocated appropriately.
The Department of Urban Development (HUD) provides direction for the counting process and Sacramento Steps Forward is responsible for conducting the count, which includes creating the maps."
The count is federally mandated and must be conducted every two years in each city where HUD is working with other government and nonprofits providers to provide funding to help with the many issues related to homelessness.
An email from Katherine Cooley, Community & Economic Development, who was also a volunteer, read, “It is always our goal to provide resources to our homeless population where needed, while also enforcing laws to preserve residents’ quality of life. We address this issue using a multi-pronged approach and our partnership with Sacramento Steps Forward is one example of this.”
According the Elise Beckman, Consultant PIT Coordinator with Steps Forward, the Citrus Heights count was part of a county-wide effort, with an additional 220 volunteers were deployed from the Department of Human Assistance (DHA) in mid-town Sacramento to the cities of Elk Grove, Folsom, Galt, Rancho Cordova, Sacramento and Isleton.
According the Sgt. Jason Baldwin in a phone interview: two years ago, after ‘being forgotten’ in the count, the City and the Citrus Heights Police Department (CHDP), closely following HUD’s mapped sections and count method, took on the project, recruiting volunteers from the community to help. These five sections are just a portion of the city mapped out by HUD to determine funding.
On January 25, a dozen volunteers were teamed up with a dozen police officers. Volunteers included city workers, members of the Homeless Assistance Resource Team (HART) and members of American Legion Post 637.
A short training was conducted at the police department. Baldwin and Cooley told volunteers what to expect throughout the five sections the city was divided into, and how to locate the homeless in those areas. A form to keep track of those counted was explained, including at what kind of venue they were found, their age, gender and race.
Volunteers were then divided up into teams with two officers assigned to volunteers assigned to each of their five sections of the city. At 7 p.m. the teams were deployed to their assigned sections.
This reporter participated in the count, following Officers James Garing and Nate Hutson in their squad car. The officers quickly scoured every inch of each area of their sector, with their vehicle spotlights. They would often jump out of their vehicle with flashlights to further inspect specific areas including dumpsters, creek beds, strip malls, other shopping areas, residential streets and undeveloped greenbelts. They knew where they were looking and who they might expect to find in each section.
Some volunteers trudged into the ‘forested areas’ to view a homeless camp either still populated or deserted, many still covered with remnants of an abandoned encampment. It was an enlightening experience.
At the end of the night, about 11 p.m. officers Garing and Hutson deemed it to be a ‘quiet night’, with only 19 counted in Section Five. These had been found on sidewalks, in a laundromat and in front of a 7-11 at a strip mall, also riding their bicycles and in an encampment. A total of ninety-three total homeless had been counted in the five mapped sections of Citrus Heights, also covering city parks, schools, the library, large and small businesses, parking lots and other public areas.
In an email following the count, Beckman said, “I was impressed by Sgt. Baldwin and the CHPD, and we certainly appreciated their support in operating a count for the Citrus Heights map areas.”
At the end of the night, on January 25, 70 mapped sections had been counted in the seven cities in the Sacramento County. Two hundred eighty-nine volunteers, put in 1,416 hours. The final statistics will be available later in the year.
Sources: City of Citrus Heights, Citrus Heights Police Department, Sacramento Steps Forward, HUD.
On February 16, 2017, The Citrus Heights Police Department identified and arrested a subject wanted for a string of residential burglaries occurring on the west side of the City. Since January 2016, the suspect is believed to have been responsible for approximately fourteen (14) burglaries and eleven (11) attempted burglaries. Many of these burglaries occurred when the residents were home and asleep.
The Citrus Heights Police Department’s Officers and Detectives were determined to take this individual into custody and return peace of mind to the members of this community.
During the investigation, CHPD Detectives canvassed the area, interviewed numerous people, sought the assistance of allied agencies and collected forensic evidence all of which provided leads as to the whereabouts of the suspect believed to have committed the crimes.
The suspect has been identified as 23-year-old Levi Pierce. Pierce is currently on probation for burglary. Evidence was located during his arrest and Detectives will begin the process of re-uniting victims with their property.
The Citrus Heights Police Department would like to thank the California Highway Patrol’s Air Operations unit, the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department, and the Department of Justice’s technical support team. Additionally, CHPD would like to thank the residents of Citrus Heights, including Neighborhood Watches and Neighborhood Associations, for their support during this investigation.
Upon hearing the of the successful arrest, CHPD Chief Ron Lawrence stated -
“I could not be more pleased with the work of our police detectives and officers. They solved this crime trend and through great police work, captured this dangerous felon.
“Our community is far safer with this criminal off the streets and in custody.”
“The brazen behavior this suspect exhibited while committing residential burglaries in the middle of the night with home owners asleep was concerning. His arrest should bring some reassurance to those people he victimized and I hope our criminal justice system holds him accountable for his actions.”
The Citrus Heights Police Department is requesting the public’s help in identifying suspects responsible for burglarizing a commercial business in the 7800 block of Lichen Drive.
In the early morning hours on February 5, 2017 suspects entered the closed business by forcing entry into the building. The suspects selected a substantial amount of items and fled the business with the stolen merchandise.
The store video surveillance captured the image of two of the suspected burglars while inside the store. One of the suspects appears to be a male white or Hispanic with a small goatee. He is approximately 5’10 with a thin build. He was wearing a black hooded sweatshirt with large red/white block writing on the front and blue jeans. The second subject is described as a male white or Hispanic, approximately 5’8 with a thick build. He was wearing a black hooded jacket, gray undershirt, and dark jeans.
Patrol Lieutenant Michael Wells said, “The theft from the commercial businesses in our community won’t be tolerated. We hope that the community can assist with identifying these subjects so that we can hold them accountable for this crime.”
Anyone with information regarding this crime, or information about these suspects, is strongly encouraged to contact the Citrus Heights Police Department at (916) 727-5500.