Policing Yorba Linda
Posted by Brenda McCune on April 15, 2012
Where we’re at now
For more than 40 years the city of Yorba Linda has been policed by the Brea Police Department. The current contract with Brea PD ends in June 2012. In November 2011, the Yorba Linda City Council gave Brea PD a Notice of Termination.
There is currently an ongoing bidding process to renegotiate to continue with Brea, or replace their contract with a contract with the Orange County Sheriff or Anaheim Police Department. Competitive bids have been received from each of the three agencies and can be viewed on the city website.
The “Keep Police in Yorba Linda” is essentially the pro-BreaPD group. They have a facebook page and a website, look for Yorba Linda Police.com. The Pro-Sheriff group is Protect Yorba Linda. They are essentially the YLRRR, the group behind Councilmembers, Anderson, Rikel and Schwing. They have a website and their members have been as active and vociferous as usual on the OC Register website and “Keep Police in Yorba Linda” facebook page.
How’d we get here
In 2006, a group of Yorba Linda citizens, concerned about redevelopment and a pending plan for a new Town Center organized to elect council members supportive of their efforts, and to pass low growth measures. Since that time the YLRRR has expanded it’s agenda and influence. This group has dominated the last 4 elections, having 7 out of 8 of their candidates elected. They continue to control the current council with 3 of the Councilmembers voting consistently together on their agenda. After the 2010 election they believed they would have virtual ownership of 4 of the 5 council seats, but Tom Lindsey (who seemed not to notice the retribution this group affected upon prior dissidents Jan Horton and Hank Weeda) has shown himself to exercise his own judgment on the council even after accepting the support of YLRRR in the 2010 election.
John Anderson, one of the first candidates supported by this group, and one of it’s founders in 2006, has made no secret of his desire to oust the Brea PD. In 2009, in an effort to move forward with that agenda, a feasibility study was conducted. During this period, the council pursued a plethora of feasibility studies on a variety of issues, spending into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. The police study was upwards of $50k. The police services study essentially found that the replacement of the Brea PD was NOT FEASIBLE nor cost effective. Specifically considered in that investigation was the implementation of protection by the Orange County Sheriff. The most cost efficient option, as opined by the expert retained by the anti-Brea PD Councilmembers, was to maintain the arrangement with Brea. This conculsion was based upon the millions of dollars it would cost to staff up, and acquire equipment for any new organization to police Yorba Linda. Depending upon the means of the gearing up, the opinion of the costs of starting up with a new agency ranged from $16-30 million.
In spite of that 2009 recommendation, On November 1, 2011 the council voted to issue the Notice of Termination to Brea PD. The item on the agenda for that November meeting was #11, “Potential Future Options”. Sheriff Sandra Hutchens was in attendance at that meeting, prepared with a power point presentation. The public attendees of that meeting have repeatedly used the word “shocked” to describe their response to the vote to terminate the 40 year Brea PD contract and the presence of the Sheriff with her presentation. No part of the agenda indicated that the Sheriff would be providing a presentation. Whether the vague description of the agenda item was intended to mislead the public, the fact is that it did.
What’s gonna happen next
On April 24, 2012, at 6:00 pm at the Yorba Linda Community Center will be a public meeting. The three agencies will give presentations, then the floor will be open for public comment.
Whether or not the council will vote on the proposals that night is not known. Again with the ambiguity. The Brea police contract expires in June.
There has been some debate about whether Councilman Jim Winder should or will vote on this, as he is retired from Brea PD. The answer is, who cares. Jim could stay home from every meeting from now until his term runs out, his vote is irrelevant. The YLRRR owns this council and the 3 will vote together.
It is hard to guess, but it will not go to Anaheim. They should stay home with Jim and Tom, they are not even realistically in the running. This council has been courting the Sheriff for some time. It is possible, I think unlikely, but possible, that if there is enough of a public outcry that the council votes to keep Brea. This council has a history of this kind of exacerbated game playing, i.e. create a side show, a fire, and then save the situation so that they can cry from their soap box about how they saved the situation from the fire. Political grandsstanding and publicity whoring has become a specialty of this group.
Up until the mandated annexation of unincorporated areas of Yorba Linda in 1994, many neighborhoods in Yorba Linda were policed by the Orange County Sheriff. No one anywhere has discussed this. I lived in one of those areas for 13 years. The service was abhorrent. They were slow, non-responsive and not in any way interested in the remote area of Yorba Linda. The funny thing about the rhetoric and alleged “information” provided on the “Protect” (YLRRR) web site, is that they indicate that if we retain the service of the Sheriff, Yorba Linda will be provided with a police station and ownership of the police cars, all at a cost savings of $1 million dollars per year. Yes, Virginia, there IS a Santa Claus, and Obamacare will cure the national deficit as well.
I am sure they will be serving Kool-Aid at the April 24 meeting, if you beleive that adding and staffing up a new agency will save the city money, drink up.