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Alamo concerned over lack of police at nighttime

Original post made on Jul 23, 2009

Residents expressed concerns about lack of police response amid the ongoing county cutbacks, reporting at a recent meeting of the Alamo Community Council that sometimes no one answers 9-1-1 calls. The sheriff says he'd like lawmakers to place more budgetary emphasis on public safety.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, July 23, 2009, 5:12 PM

Comments (33)

Posted by GunOwner, a resident of Walnut Creek
on Jul 23, 2009 at 8:43 pm

Californians have to get over their fear of guns. It's up to you to protect your family. I'm not a religious, right-wing nut. I'm a 40 year old gay man with children to protect. So, yes, I own a handgun and a shotgun. I've taken gun safety lessons and am knowledgeable on the use and care of firearms. I look no further than myself to ensure my safety and the safety of my family. More people need to do the same. Our budget crisis requires that we take personal responsibility.


Posted by Julia, a resident of Alamo
on Jul 24, 2009 at 7:07 am

Mr. or Ms. Gun Owner...you are absolutely correct. I to have a hand gun and some shotguns and I also many years ago have taken safety lessons on the use of firearms.

Your family comes first and if necessary you are the first line of defense. Most of the time, there is no time to waste calling and calling for help. Call once, and then move to protect yourself and/or your family.

And by the way Sheriff Rupf, where is this electronic reporting system and how do we get into the system?

Thank you, Julia


Posted by Dawn, a resident of Alamo
on Jul 24, 2009 at 8:00 am

I agree, with one caveat: it's not our budget crisis that requires we take personal responsibility. It's common sense.

Good question about the reporting system, Julia - my guess is that people calling (the dispatcher or desk officer, not 9-1-1) could/would be phone-treed into it.


Posted by Joe, a resident of Danville
on Jul 24, 2009 at 9:07 am

I'm officer and while I've never been an advocate of people getting guns for home protection, I do feel strongly people that people have the right to protect their homes and families. For the past 40 years law enforcement has gone from a pro-active to re-active institution. With 1 officer for every 10,000 + citizens there's no way around it. With that said I want to strongly push people on the safety aspect. If you feel you need a gun for home protection, even if you've had safety course before, take a refresher course every one or two years. Practice at a range and keep the weapon secure at home from the very family (children) you're trying to protect. Statistically most shootings in a private home to date, is still because of guns kept at the home owned by the family and the event is often tragic for the family and not the criminal they are trying to protect themselves from.


Posted by Jerry Kaplan, a resident of Alamo
on Jul 24, 2009 at 9:12 am

Loss of police service, an appointed MAC without Alamoans choosing their representitives, Yardbirds with a new tenant within weeks of closing, probable loss of a local planning commission. Seems to me these were all predicted by those in favor of cityhood for Alamo, but denied by those opposed. However, the majority prevailed and now should expect to reap that which they sowed!

P.S. Is there a reason individuals submitting comments seem to be unwilling to stand up by name for whatever their opinions may be?


Posted by Dawn, a resident of Alamo
on Jul 24, 2009 at 10:57 am

To Officer Joe:

Thanks for your input. Last year when I was considering purchasing a personal Taser, I phoned the Alamo Sheriff's office to ask their advice and guidance.

The fellow with whom I spoke was generous with his time and opinions. He recommended that I DO obtain the taser, and said he had purchased them for a number of his relatives. I highly recommend them - not necessarily as an alternative to firearms for home protection, but definitely as a means of personal protection when out and about. The new ones are accurate to fifty feet, have a laser-light sight, and drop confetti that immediately identifies the taser owner to any law enforcement personnel investigating any firing incident.


Posted by Rick, a resident of Danville
on Jul 24, 2009 at 1:27 pm

Well put gunowner


Posted by Nancy Dommes, a resident of Alamo
on Jul 25, 2009 at 12:59 pm

Hi Geoff -

Thanks for your article about the lack of Alamo sheriff protection.

Just a suggestion, for any follow-up article you might want to investigate then add that patrols are scheduled now as two-man (for safety reasons?) rather than one-man patrols as before. These two-man teams cut in half the already decreased coverage. Couple those two situations and Alamo graveyard coverage is looking really dismal.

Then think about the fact that patrols will need to focus on areas of need - East/West County. Does that mean that unincorporated areas in South County will have zero graveyard coverage? One resident called 911 late at night when intruders were in their backyard, the dispatcher - this is true Geoff! - asked the resident if she "had a gun".

A sargeant I spoke with also said that if there's no coverage in Alamo when an emergency arises, they can call Walnut Creek or Danville Police. IF either department has police available to respond, they will come to Alamo BUT they're not obligated. This is NOT comforting news.

Again, thanks for the coverage and bringing forth the news. Alamo residents, I feel, have a false sense of security because the "Valley Station" is in our plaza. What they need to understand now is it's locked up at night!


Posted by John Garfield, a resident of Alamo
on Jul 25, 2009 at 9:33 pm

If those who were elected in "Sacramento" would work within the budget - stop giving raises to themselves and others - cut back on the "pork" they seem to think their district cannot live without - and do the job they were elected to do... represent ALL OF THE PEOPLE and the best interest of our State, we would not have these problems.

This is a long standing problem which you cannot blame on this governor as he has attempted to request a balanced budget which California cannot seem to do. I thought these elected officials were smarter than most - although, it seems not and they will need to be replaced with someone who can do the job and represent the people.


Posted by Erin, a resident of Alamo
on Jul 25, 2009 at 10:56 pm

I am so shocked by the ignorance in my town. I honestly thought Alamo had a higher level of education and common sense than this. Gun ownership is absolutely no substitute for adequate police protection, neighborhood cooperation, and taking simple precautions like locking doors and closing widows. Defense of your home is absolutely NOT a legally (or morally) justifiable use of a lethal weapon. Lethal force is only excusable in instances of imminent, lethal bodily injury. Some jerk trying to steal your golf clubs is no reason for lethal force, and let's face it, that's about all that happens around here.

And a word to the 40 year old dad "with children to protect," your children are four times more likely to sustain an injury or death from the gun you own than you are likely to ever use that weapon to successfully ward off a lethal home invasion situation. Would you stop buckling your children with seat belts if there was a one in four chance that they might suffer more harm than if you had it on? Of course not. You'd play the odds. Moreover, as your children age into their teen years, death by firearm (often suicide) is the second leading cause of non-natural death. You sound like a sincere and concerned parent, so do yourself a favor and get educated about the statistics of having a gun in your home when children are present. Smart gun ownership goes much deeper than simply learning how to properly discharge your weapon.


Posted by Rick, a resident of Danville
on Jul 26, 2009 at 4:06 am

Yes, so we need smart gun owners. And we now have a lot more than stolen golf clubs to worry about (thanks to group homes). We have kids being murdered. God bless Rylan


Posted by Steve, a resident of Alamo
on Jul 26, 2009 at 8:08 am

Alamo residents voted down incorporation nearly 2-1 earlier this year. I agree with Erin: prior to that vote, I thought Alamo residents were smarter than that. But they were easily swayed by fearmongering over "increased bureaucracy", not realizing they have a bureaucracy managing Alamo...it's just in Martinez and it's not made up of Alamo residents!

The lack of a police force is one major loss of the failure to incorporate. Of course, we also get 2 acre parking lots instead of open space across from Monte Vista, resistance-free home development, Moroccan mansions built on the hills overlooking 680 without constraint, "no right turn on red" at Danville Blvd/Stone Valley Rd (how exactly did that happen?), CC Sheriffs handing out speeding tickets to increase county revenue, and, in the middle of the Great Recession, the loss of property value vs. the proven increases that would have come with incorporation. Now, instead, home builders are free to overrun our town without our residents having a voice (and our "representative" Mary Peipho allowing them to do what they want time and again), we have no adequate, responsive or -- more importantly -- accountable police protection (we are sitting ducks), etc, and all in the name of what? "Keep Alamo the way it is." Guess what people? Your best bet for that was, far and away, incorporation. You blew it.


Posted by Esther, a resident of Walnut Creek
on Jul 26, 2009 at 8:10 am

Great idea! Let's all arm ourselves to the teeth instead of getting police protection! Back to the 19th century it is! Who ARE you people?


Posted by Rick, a resident of Danville
on Jul 26, 2009 at 12:46 pm

Post removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language


Posted by Geoff Gillette, Danville Weekly reporter
on Jul 26, 2009 at 2:59 pm

Geoff Gillette is a registered user.

Folks,

We realize that topics like police protection and gun control/ownership are hot button items, but we will once again ask that you maintain a civil level of discourse and try to stick to the topic of the thread. Over the last few weeks there have been several comments made that violate our Terms of Use, particularly those regarding hate speech and disrespecting other's opinions. It is possible to disagree without resorting to name-calling or other forms of derogation and disrespect.

Under our terms of service, we are allowed to ban accounts who cannot abide by those rules. It is not something we would want to do as we encourage and promote a free exchange of ideas on this site.

One last note, the term 'objectionable' in the Terms of Use does not mean someone who posts an opinion contrary to what you yourself may believe. Objectionable is calling someone names, attacking their character or otherwise engaging in character debate. Please argue your cases to each other passionately, but with respect and civility.

Thanks.
Geoff Gillette


Posted by Alamo Resident, a resident of Alamo
on Jul 26, 2009 at 3:35 pm

If Alamo had become a City, we would be bankrupt now and the State would own us. Government solves nothing. Better to learn to take care of your self and forget about your failed power grab. If the police cant protect us, than it is up to us to protect ourselves. When government can no longer do the job it was tasked with, than government becomes irrelevant. We are seeing that across the county now.


Posted by GunOwner, a resident of Walnut Creek
on Jul 26, 2009 at 9:31 pm

Erin -

Owning a gun has already saved my life. 10 years ago I owned a restaurant and we were robbed at closing time. The two robbers (who were armed) demanded restaurant money, our personal money (there were 5 of us working at the time), and any personal jewelry. Despite being given all of the money and jewelry, they proceeded to march us to the walk-in cooler and had us kneel on the floor. I knew there was only one reason that they would take such action. So, I told one of the robbers that there was money in the hidden safe in my office. In fact, this was a lie. My handgun was locked in the safe. One of the robbers escorted me to my office. As I opened the safe, I grabbed my gun, turned and fired without a moment's hesitation. Although severely wounded, the robber did survive. Upon hearing the gunshot, the other robber fled the store. Both were apprehended, convicted, and are still serving out their prison sentence.

I have no regrets about shooting someone as I know in my heart they would have executed all five of us.

As a gay male, I've been verbally harassed on several occasions by young punks. Now, as a parent, I've made the decision to protect my family. I have no qualms with gun ownership, but I will agree that it's not for everybody. As the bumper sticker says, "you can have my gun when you pry it from my cold dead hands".

Personally, I own a handgun, a shotgun, and a personal taser. Would not hesitate to use any of the three if my life and the life of my family were threatened in any way. Entering my home without my permission is reason enough for me to use my weapon. I could care less if the person's intention is to simply rob us. If a robber enters my home, I must assume that he plans to kill us and that we are in imminent danger.




Posted by Erin, a resident of Alamo
on Jul 26, 2009 at 11:17 pm

I'm thrilled to hear that a gun, and quick thinking, saved your life and the lives of those working for you. That was a great example of when lethal force is in fact necessary and justified. But I'd like to point out that, presumably, your children do no work in your store at closing time, nor are forced armed robberies a real problem in Alamo homes where your children live, which is why we all pay so much to live here. So while I applaud your heroic work, I'd even more strongly urge you to disarm your home because lighting strikes where there is a lightening rod - like a store with safes and a walk-in cooler. Keep your home free from large sums of cash, drugs, conspicuous and easily fenced items, and you'll be safe. Buy an alarm system, get to know your neighbors, lock up your home, and use common sense, and your place of business will likely be the only time deadly force was ever used. But as long as your children continue to live under a roof with armed and conspicuous weapons, they run four times the normal rate of death or injury to my children who do not.

And by the way, I used to be a prosecutor. I can assure you that you should not use your weapon/s on someone entering your home without permission. Trespassing is a misdemeanor, but using force exceeding that which is necessary is a felony for which you can go to jail and be sued. In particular, lethal force is only justified in rare instances, otherwise is a punishable crime that carries jail time. Vigilantism makes a cute story, but it's murder on your quality of life.


Posted by Adam, a resident of Alamo
on Jul 26, 2009 at 11:25 pm

When I was in high school I lived in a quiet town like Alamo. Some friends of mine tried to steal the license plate of their baseball coach as part of an annual prank. On the evening they did it, a neighbor heard some commotion, came out armed with a shotgun to see what was going on, and when the teens jumped into their car to speed off, the neighbor shot into the moving vehicle later claiming he thought they had stolen the car. One of the teens was shot in the arm. Of course this may have been some manic idiot, but it seems folks with loaded weapons are often overly eager to use them and prove their worth. Itchy fingers, perhaps? The neighbor served jail time, lost his job, and was sued. The teen boy healed well, but he didn't play much baseball that season.


Posted by Ralph Hoffmann, a resident of Walnut Creek
on Jul 27, 2009 at 6:51 am

A logical half-way measure is pepper spray. It can be concealed in pocket or purse, and doesn't require a permit. The problem with a pistol or rifle is accidental discharge. I grew up in rural upstate NY where we had a rifle range in our basement. I joined NRA in HS, to learn to hunt, as did many of my classmates. The only brother (younger) of the Valedictorian in our class was riding in the back seat of a car of a group going hunting. His rifle, a 30-06, discharged accidentally, killing him. She and her family was never the same. Pepper spray costs ~$10., legal if used defensively, and can be bought at a place like Dad's Locksmith.


Posted by Rick, a resident of Danville
on Jul 27, 2009 at 8:46 am

These stories are tragic, but they are the result of jerks and bunglers. The gun itself was not the issue. Alamo and Danville are not so safe as you all want to play off, and worse yet is that there are plenty of forces who rule our towns that would love to make it like Richmond or Oakland, by bringing in thugs via group homes and the like. A kid's already been murdered because one of those thugs thought we were easy pickings, a bunch of softies who are afraid to protect themselves. Well, no more. The cops can't be everywhere. We must be the first line of defense. GunOwner, you rock!


Posted by Alison, a resident of Alamo
on Jul 27, 2009 at 4:08 pm

Somebody sure likes to bray about being a gay male. Did you ever think nobody cares about your orientation? Should we identify ourselves as hetero males or females?


Posted by RandyB, a resident of Alamo
on Jul 27, 2009 at 7:21 pm

You voters who fell for the collective developers lies, half truths, scare tactics, (hummm looks like we have a replacement for Home Depot) and plain illegal activities,(like sign stealing for instance). Well I hope your happy now.

Lets see, many of us have no police protection on graveyard shift, we have the county stealing money from Zone 36, we have the Dictator Piepho shoving MAC, (her hand picked disciples), down our throats, (funny, she didn't speak up before the election, she say's she didn't want to influence the same, which of course is about the only true thing to come out of her mouth). We have the idiotic "no turn on red" traffic light, which someone might mention to the Dictator Piepho, doesn't work when your waiting to turn right and there is no other traffic to trip the sensors. It's sometimes amusing to watch 3 or 4 cars line up, just sitting there, waiting patiently, or maybe not so patiently, to turn. They eventually make an illegal turn on red, but the good news is that this only happens late at night when there is no other traffic and as we have discussed, There ARE NO POLICE, save the lonely CHP, during those hours, thanks to CCC and Dictator Piepho.

The county is rubbing their hands together planning new commercial development for our town (I wonder how much the new wider bridge will cost?), and, I'll bet their even planning to allow lot splits, all in the name of their much needed revenue (we won't even go into why that is). Guess who you have on your side, that's right folks, a hand picked MAC (otherwise known as Piepho's Mini-MAC). Here'ssssss what you could have wonnn! Oh well, I'm wasting my breath, most of you don't vote or vote on 30 second bites or fall victim to the scare tactics of the special interests.

You folk that voted against the town of Alamo and against local control because you didn't want the town to change, boy do you have a rude awaking coming. That light that you faintly saw at the end of the tunnel, nope, I'm sorry, it's on oncoming train and look carefully now, yes your right, it's being driven by Dictator Piepho, and it's damm the torpedoes, full speed ahead. She doesn't fear us, in the scheme of things, Alamo is just a pimple on a horse's butt. Alamo, you had a chance to get rid of her and you failed the test. I should say you get what you deserve, but I'm more benevolent then that. BTW, she is installing the same type MAC's in her community of Discovery Bay. She is not well liked there either.

I just want to thank you folk........ Oh, never mind.

RandyB


Posted by Rick, a resident of Danville
on Jul 27, 2009 at 7:51 pm

They can't do anything if we dont let them. All politicians are corrupt. They only listen to the highest dollar or the loudest mouth. We all got to step up and be loudmouths if we don't like something


Posted by Gunowner, a resident of Walnut Creek
on Jul 27, 2009 at 8:56 pm

Alison -

When someone threatens you or actually physically assaults you because you're heterosexual, give me a call. As a gay male, I've been verbally attacked on numerous occasions. My favorite are the Alamo nitwits who pass judgment on the fact that I have four kids and express their hatred while my children are standing there. So, it's a relevant detail when explaining why I choose to protect myself with a firearm. Or should I simply let some redneck attack me or my children and act like a helpless, girly victim. I may be gay but I believe in being a man and defending yourself and your family.


Posted by Gunowner, a resident of Walnut Creek
on Jul 27, 2009 at 9:16 pm

Rick - As much as I'm shocked to admit it, I actually agree with you on something. Your comment about jerks and bunglers is spot on. Anybody who shoots into a car fleeing away from you is a moron and deserves jail time. Anybody who enters your home in the middle of the night without your permission deserves whatever you do to him.

Far too often we are lulled into a false sense of security. My neighbor used to leave the keys in her car all the time as we live on a quiet street with only 7 homes. She came home around 1 in the afternoon and when she went to leave to pick up her kids at 3pm, her car was gone. Someone stole it in broad daylight out of her secluded driveway. Now, did someone deserve to be shot over a car theft? No. But, had the gentleman entered her home while she was there alone then he most certainly deserved to be shot. A woman should not have to wait and see if the guy plans to rape her or simply trespass before she's allowed to defend herself.

Frankly, I think the police around here get a bum wrap. It's a dangerous job and they deserve to be paid every penny they can negotiate. With everyone opposed to paying any more taxes do you propose that police officers work for free? They can not be expected to be everywhere under the best of circumstances and particularly can't be everywhere when we've had to cut back on the number of police officers. About 18 mos ago there was a robbery in the Lamorinda area. The crooks called in a fake 911 call so that the police would be on the opposite side of town from where they planned to commit their crime. The crooks knew the area wasn't patrolled heavily and that the few police on duty would all be sent to the opposite side of town.

If we're not going to adequately fund police departments then we have to begin relying on ourselves for protection. A gun should not be your first choice to solve every problem. But, it's also not wrong to have it as one of the items available to you should the need ever arise.


Posted by Askidoo, a resident of Alamo
on Jul 28, 2009 at 11:19 am

Ironic that after hearing in the incorporation debate from the no inc bunch that 'the county isn't broke so why fix it' that Contra Costa Sheriff Warren Rupf gave a talk on July 16th, 2009 entitled "Contra Costa County: Not Just Broke, but Broken. Where do we go from here?"


Posted by DUB C, a resident of Walnut Creek
on Jul 28, 2009 at 8:13 pm

Web Link

This is something we at the DUBC have been following pretty closely because it may impact police staffing in Walnut Creek. That fact is most of your police coverage (with the exception of the special districts which are a little more immune) is often in North Richmond, Bay Point of the far East County areas. Alamo is hung out to dry late at night. A source tells us that Walnut Creek officers were told that may have to respond to some areas in and around Alamo but only if they are not needed in Walnut Creek. I'm sure Danville has the same policy. Hopefully things will get better soon. Until they do the Board of Superviors need to hear from Alamo residents loud and clear.


Posted by Tyrone, a resident of Walnut Creek
on Jul 30, 2009 at 7:40 am

As a responsible gunowner and one who grew up in a family of gunowners and hunters, I truly find it shocking that many people consider gunowners as "nuts" or backwards or stupid and have no qualm about strongly voicing their opinions that others should not have guns. First off, it is a Constitutional right that we all should cherish and protect. That one may choose not to own a gun because of his or her beliefs/choice is fine but imposing that belief on others is intolerant and offensive to the Constitution. I did not hear anyone here arguing that you must have a gun in your home. Secondly, the right of self defense and use of lethal force is in California legally limited to imminent danger of self or family, should that situation ever occur the police are not likely to be able to help. I respect the police/sheriff and they do a great job, but even if they were available and had a force in Alamo, if you have to call the police because of imminent danger its usually too late. What I find shocking is not that there are those that understand individual responsibility but those that are willing to sacrafice and surrender individual protection of both family and property to the hope that under collectivism others will be able to protect you.


Posted by Dawn, a resident of Alamo
on Jul 30, 2009 at 10:29 am

Tyrone -

Thank you for an exceptionally well written comment. Your summary precisely reflects my thoughts on the matter.


Posted by Gunowner, a resident of Walnut Creek
on Jul 30, 2009 at 2:49 pm

Tyrone -

I must echo Dawn's sentiments - Excellent post.


Posted by mona, a resident of another community
on Jul 30, 2009 at 7:25 pm

My advise to you folks in the county is know your neighbors and keep the gun in a safe place(the casual policy of North Gate Road). Of course you could always try the Rancho Paraiso approach and request annexation to a city or town that already has a police force. Might be less expensive that going for incorporation.


Posted by Askidoo, a resident of Alamo
on Aug 9, 2009 at 10:15 pm

"If Alamo had become a City, we would be bankrupt now and the State would own us. Government solves nothing. ... We are seeing that across the county now."

NO. So untrue about incorporation and mixing so many different government money sources that makes anyone who knows about local government shake their head that these people are so uninformed.

We would not be bankrupt now and our income from taxes according to Gus Kramer, CCC Assessor would be slightly up over 2008 when it was up 5% of assessed value. .12% for this year over assessed value. Not down 7% like the rest of CCC.

The police can't protect us because under the county they must cut and can't cover our unincorporated needs since they are $2 billion in debt. As a city we would easily, even in a rough economy, been able to keep an adequate police presence in Alamo. Remember - Valley substation has 142 square miles to cover and currently 21 cops versus Alamo police covering 10 square miles and 12 cops! Incorporation proponents knew this, after meeting with many police jurisdictions, but you did not believe it would happen evidently according to the voters.

The state has only thus far laid claim, in this bad economy, to gas tax which affects both county and cities but as of this point this is still up in the air.

For Alamo, County Public Works Department problems include the resurfacing of Alamo streets on the westside from Ramona to Wayne Avenue which will not be done as planned and the streets have not been resurfaced since 1998 - they were slated for summer 2009. The city should have been able to pull this off unlike the county with $2 billion indebtedness.

While 'government solves nothing' we do have government that oversees Alamo - Contra Costa County. The question is how efficient and responsive is that government? The county has proven to not be responsive, not listen to citizens, spend tax money in ways Alamo citizens do not like, and charge major administrative fees when little is done. A city had a chance of rectifying some of those things. Alamo voted that down and they are left with the broken bureaucratic inefficient county system which is not in the business of municipal services the greatest need for Alamo. And they are left with being such a small percentage of the supervisorial district that even if all of Alamo voted in unanimity it would make no difference thus as part of the county they have little or no voice.

The only way to protect Alamo citizens was to make that government closer, have input through local representatives, and have oversight.

ps as to gun control - you have the right to have one; government has the right to make rules re that 'right'.


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