Brea PD Update

LightsI received an interesting and, in many ways thought provoking comment, from a Yorba Linda resident named Shawn. He raised several issues, posed several questions, all of which deserved more exposure than to be buried at the bottom of an older post.

Here is what Shawn wrote:

OSCDAfter reading your blog I became concerned for my city and talked to some police officers and detectives I know with Brea, now with OCSD. Here is what I learned:

  • The officers that left for the OCSD were offered $10,000 to stay with Brea until the end of the contract with Yorba Linda. Many of the officers also had the opportuity to stay employed by the city of Brea. Most, if not all, left because they felt there was more benefit going early than there was staying in Brea, risking their careers with the issues in Brea.
  • The officers that retired didn’t leave because they were nice or because they felt it was the right thing to do. They left because Brea gave them between $25,000 and $50,000 to retire.
  • Detectives and motor officers assigned to Brea are working patrol. Detectives and motor officers assigned to Yorba Linda are handling duties as normal. That means Brea cases sit without investigation and Brea traffic, during the busiest time of year, goes without adequate enforcement. Everything in Yorba Linda is handled promptly as required by contract.
  • I wouldn’t say there is “no chance” Yorba Linda goes back to Brea for police services. After Brea has officially offered to cover all costs associated with Yorba Linda’s breaking the contract with OCSD, I am guessing Yorba Linda will consider anything.
  • I hope Brea’s managers see the errors of their ways soon and take the proper approach to making sure our communities are safe rather than having officers work patrol that haven’t responded to a radio call in 20+ years.

Yellow TapeA well deserved response.

BREA-YLShawn covered a lot of ground and I appreciate his adding his two cents. His observations, questions and opinions more than deserve a response.

  • I’m still trying to uncover whether correspondence from the OCSD to Brea cops on the bubble threatened to rescind their offer to hire. This allegation is widely circulating but validation has been difficult.
  • It is confirmed that $10K “pay-to-stay” offers were made and refused and $25K to $50K early out bonuses were paid. Watch Chief Conklin’s comments at the 12/4 YL council meeting.
  • I did hear that a couple of the retirees have taken positions with OCSD where they can start building another retirement package. Double dipping?
  • I did hear about similar comments from a Brea detective, claiming that their work is falling behind due to patrol duties. I’ve made inquiry to a council member to confirm this but have heard nothing. The standard response from city hall seems to be silence.
  • I’ve only seen one motorcycle officer on the street in three weeks. When I asked him how he “got so lucky” his response was to point to the stripes on his sleeve and smile. I’m not really sure what that means.
  • No chance? Sorry. By the time Mayor Tom Lindsey can run the latest offer up the flagpole, Don Schweitzer will have left council and the new Mayor will deserve a say in the matter. Though whomever gets the gavel will likely not make waves.
  •  Schweitzer’s letter, written by staff, must have had the blessing of Council. Did they vote on this in closed session? How does a staff prepared letter, one that seriously obligates the city, get signed by the Mayor without a majority of council members reviewing and approving it?  This matter does not fit the Brown Act exception and should have been conducted in open session.
  • Promising to indemnify Yorba Linda against a breach of contract suit from the OCSD is a fiscal nightmare. What is the full extent of Brea’s potential liability? What might the legal fees be to handle this?
  • Brea failed to “keep” the contract with Yorba Linda, in my opinion, thanks to a lackluster response from city staff to the RFQ that didn’t put a good offer on the table at a respectable price. Once again, we have O’Donnell to blame.

HandcuffedWe could have known this.

You know, I can hardly think of a better example of why Brea voters should have passed Measure U. It would have forced issues like this to be fully vetted in public and provided an opportunity for Breans to wade in with their thoughts and opinions.

Several matters have been discussed in closed session lately, agenda items cloaked in nebulous language so as to avert public interest, none of which meet the litmus test of the Brown Act.

Shameful.

There is a lot at stake here. Public safety and emergency services are not issues to be handled behind closed doors.

Period. End of story.

I hope the newly reorganized Council understands this and conducts themselves in a more transparent and accountable manner.

If they don’t, as likely as not, we’ll see another Measure U on the ballot in 2014.