Sheriff’s Department Message Clear On How to Reduce Poway Crime Rate
San Diego Co. Sheriff’s Department is the chief law enforcement agency in the county. With almost 4,000 employees – both sworn officers and professional support staff – the department provides general law enforcement, detention and court services to an area covering approximately 4,200 sq. mi.
A Poway sheriff’s station first opened in 1972. Today, the Sheriff’s Department continues to serve the City of Poway, under the local command of Capt. Mike Hernandez. In this issue of 92064 Magazine, Hernandez (a Poway High School graduate who took command of the local station when Capt. Mark Elvin was promoted in April 2011) provides some insight into Poway’s law enforcement operations and discusses how local residents can protect themselves from crimes.
with Poway Sheriff’s Station Capt. Mike Hernandez
92064 Magazine: What is the history of the Poway Sheriff’s Station?
Hernandez: The first Poway station went into service in 1972, with the official opening on Jan. 5, 1973. City of Poway incorporated in December 1980 and selected our department over San Diego Police Department for service, according to a Los Angeles Times article dated May 1981. The old station was located on Pomerado Road just south of Poway Road. The building is still there, but occupied by different businesses. Looks like the department started with 10 deputies. Now there are 46 of us that are part of the sworn ranks. The current station went into service in 1998.
92064 Magazine: What or who inspired you to get into law enforcement?
Hernandez: While attending college I was contacted by a Sheriff’s recruiter who thought I would be a good candidate. He provided me a ride-along, and mentored me through the hiring process. After seeing the way he carried himself and his interaction with the community, I knew I wanted to be in law enforcement.
92064 Magazine: What is the general explanation of how the relationship works between the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department and the City of Poway, regarding law enforcement?
Hernandez: The City of Poway contracts for services provided by the Sheriff’s Department. The City has always been very supportive of the Sheriff’s department – we have an excellent relationship.
92064 Magazine: What is the most rewarding part about being a law enforcement officer today in Poway?
Hernandez: The ability to make a difference in the community. It’s always rewarding to find a lost child, to help someone out of a bad situation, or to remove a dangerous person from our community.
[quote]I am very proud of our department and the deputies serving the community of Poway. It’s gratifying to know we have such hardworking and dedicated deputies serving our community.’
~ CAPT. MIKE HERNANDEZ,
Command Officer, Poway Sheriff’s Station[/quote]
92064 Magazine: What is the biggest challenge about being a law enforcement officer today in Poway?
Hernandez: There are many challenges today for law enforcement. Doing more with less, given shrinking budgets, keeping up with the technology front for increasingly clever criminals, and getting our crime prevention methods out to everyone ensuring our community understands that a low crime rate does not mean “no crime”. With respect to being a deputy, keeping up on the myriad of ever-changing laws and ensuring our personnel conduct business in a manner that keeps the public and our deputies safe.
92064 Magazine: How do crime statistics at the Poway Sheriff’s Station compare to the other stations in the department throughout the county?
Hernandez: The Sheriff’s Department contracts to provide law enforcement services with nine of the 18 incorporated cities within the County of San Diego. Of those nine cities (Del Mar, Encinitas, Imperial Beach, Lemon Grove, Poway, San Marcos, Santee, Solana Beach and Vista), the City of Poway had the lowest crime rate for the period January through June 2011 with 13.02 FBI Type 1 crimes per 1,000 residents. Historically the City of Poway has had the lowest or one of the lowest crime rates among the nine contract cities. While this is still true for the first half 2011, a comparison of the first six months of 2010 to the first six months of this year saw a 6 percent increase with 20 more crimes reported in 2011 than the same time period in 2010.
92064 Magazine: What types of calls are the most prevalent for the sheriff’s department to receive from residents of Poway?
Hernandez: Twenty-five percent of the calls to the Sheriff’s Department from the residents of the City of Poway are incomplete phone calls, followed by alarms at 11 percent. There were 1,047 alarm calls the first six months of 2011. Of those, only 16 resulted in a crime case. While a number of these alarms may be false alarms, there is no way to tell how many of them actually did their job and scared burglars away. Traffic related calls – such as reckless driving, speeding, and DUI – is the third most prevalent, comprising 8 percent of all calls. This is followed by Suspicious Activity (7 percent), when residents call to report that “something just doesn’t look right.” Disturbance (i.e. arguments, loud parties, etc.) calls rate fifth on the list at just over 6 percent. Burglary is 10th on the list of most prevalent calls, comprising only 3 percent, and is the only FBI Type 1 crime in the top 10. Almost half of the burglary calls are thefts from vehicles. The easiest way to prevent this type of crime is to not leave valuables in a vehicle.
92064 Magazine: What is the biggest crime issue in Poway today?
Hernandez: Driving under the influence of alcohol and possession of drugs account for most of the arrests in our community.
92064 Magazine: What’s the single most important thing a Poway resident can do to assist the Sheriff’s Department in preventing crime?
Hernandez: Be a good witness. Most people are keenly aware of their neighborhood, including any suspicious persons or activities. We encourage the citizens of Poway to report any suspicious activity in their neighborhood, including descriptions of the persons or vehicles. Recently, thanks to a witness who called the Sheriff’s Department to report someone unfamiliar to her neighborhood, we were able to close several burglary cases. Deputies contacted the suspicious person/s and found they were in her neighborhood committing vehicle burglaries. Upon further investigation, they were able to link the suspects to other burglaries in Poway and San Diego. If not for the actions of this concerned citizen, an arrest may not have occurred. We cannot do this job alone and the extra eyes and ears of our community are a great resource.
92064 Magazine: What’s the best advice for residents in the area serviced by the Poway Sheriff’s Station to protect themselves and their property from crime?
Hernandez: Avoid complacency. Burglars tend to be opportunists. Leaving homes or vehicles unsecured is an invitation for burglars. Also, remove anything of value from your vehicle.
92064 Magazine: What special programs and outreach does the Sheriff’s Department provide schools in the Poway area?
Hernandez: We have an excellent relationship with the Poway Unified School District. Our specific programs include Start Smart, child and neighborhood safety, bullying, the proper use of 911, and avoiding drugs. We also work with first time youth offenders with the Diversion Program. The Poway Station employs a crime prevention specialist who is available to help with the creation of neighborhood watch groups, give crime prevention information, promote the crime free multi-housing program, and etc. More information about this vital resource can be found at www.sdsheriff.net/co_crimeprevention.html.
92064 Magazine: Does the Poway Sheriff’s Station need volunteer assistance from local residents?
Hernandez: Yes. The San Diego County Sheriff’s Senior Volunteer Patrol program is designed to draw upon the experience of senior citizens from our community. The men and women participating in the Poway Station’s program provide valuable assistance to existing staff as it strives to increase the quality of life in the community. These dedicated volunteers provide many valuable services to the community. Volunteers are always in need. If interested, please call 858-513-2855. The Poway Station also employs a number of reserve deputy sheriffs. These deputies wear the same uniform as our paid deputies and perform many of the same duties. It is yet another way people can volunteer to give back to their community. Visit www.sdsheriff.net/volunteerreserves.html for details. And the Explorer program is also available for young adults, ages 16 through 20. Visit www.sdsheriff.net/explorers.html for details.
92064 Magazine: What else do you want us to know about you, the Poway Sheriff’s Station, or the San Diego Sheriff’s Department?
Hernandez: I am very proud of our department and the deputies serving the community of Poway. It’s gratifying to know we have such hardworking and dedicated deputies serving our community.[heading] [tab title=”Sheriff’s Department Seeks Volunteers”]
San Diego Co. Sheriff’s Dept. actively seeks individuals to provide volunteer support at the 4S Ranch Sheriff’s Substation, 10282 Rancho Bernardo Road.
Both Citizen Volunteers and Senior Volunteer Patrol participants are sought, both providing an opportunity for local residents to be active in their community and use their spare time to help make the community safer for everyone.
Citizen Volunteers may be of any age over 18, and perform a wide variety of office support functions. These duties are essential to the efficient operation of the sheriff’s substation, helping the deputies to protect the public. Volunteers will work closely with a group of dedicated law enforcement personnel to help them perform their duties.
Senior Patrol Volunteers must be 50 years of age or older, and perform a wide variety of functions for the Sheriff’s substation, including enforcement of disabled parking violations, traffic control, patrol vacation checks, and making home visits in support of the YANA (You Are Not Alone) program.
For more information, call 858-513-2855 or visit www.sdsheriff.net/volunteerreserves.html[/tab] [tab title=”DID YOU KNOW?”]
San Diego County’s first Sheriff was Agoston Haraszthy, who:
- Was elected in 1850, when Millard Fillmore was President of the United States.
- Had responsibility for a county of 42,000 sq. mi. and a population of 791.
- Hailed from the Hungarian Royal Family, holding the title of Count
- Built the first cobblestone jail in what is now Historic Old Town. Two years later, the famous Judge Roy Bean (“the law west of the Pecos” in Texas) became the first inmate to escape from the jail.
- Later gained fame as the “Father of the California Wine Industry” in the Napa-Sonoma area today known as Buena Vista.
Source: www.sdsheriff.net[/tab] [tab title=”Sheriff William D. Gore Profile”]
William D. Gore assumed office as the 29th Sheriff of San Diego County on July 3, 2009, and was elected to his own term in Nov. 2, 2010. He oversees the department’s nearly 4,000 employees and an annual budget of over $579 million.
Sheriff Gore previously served as Assistant Sheriff of the department’s Law Enforcement Services Bureau and as the Undersheriff to former Sheriff Bill Kolender. From those posts he led the department’s initiative to address Indian Gaming, expanded the Sheriff’s air operations to include two fire-fighting helicopters and the Department’s crime lab DNA operations. He spearheaded the creation of the Regional Terrorism Threat Assessment Center (RTTAC).
Sheriff Gore’s law enforcement career spans nearly 40 years. He spent 32 years in the FBI, where he rose to the level of Assistant Director. He served as Special Agent in Charge (SAC) of the Seattle and San Diego Field Divisions, where he implemented the FBI Cyber Crime Squad and Joint Terrorism Task Force. He played a significant role in establishing the San Diego Regional Computer Forensics Laboratory, the first of its kind in the United States.
After retiring from the FBI and before joining the San Diego Co. Sheriff’s Dept., Sheriff Gore served as Special Advisor and Chief Investigator to the San Diego County District Attorney.
Sheriff Gore is a member of the San Diego County Police Chiefs’ and Sheriff’s Association, board member of the San Diego Crime Victims Fund and the California Peace Officers’ Association (CPOA), and a member of the San Diego Rotary Club. He has been the recipient of numerous awards and commendations including the Arthur E. Hughes Career Achievement Award from his alma mater, University of San Diego (2002). He was selected as “Headliner of the Year” by the San Diego Press Club (2001). President Clinton designated him as a Meritorious Executive in Senior Executive Service (2000).
Sheriff Gore, a San Diego native, holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Seattle University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of San Diego.
Sheriff Gore’s family is rich in law enforcement experience. His father and older brother were a part of the San Diego Police Department and his middle brother was a San Diego County Deputy Sheriff. His wife was one of the first female FBI agents in the United States.
Sheriff Gore and his wife, Natalie, have a grown son who lives in Arizona.
[/tab] [tab title=”DID YOU KNOW?”]
Though never a San Diego County Sheriff, famed Old West lawman Wyatt Earp arrived in San Diego in the late 1880’s as a hired gun. He later opened a gambling hall just prior to 1900, on the site of what is now Horton Plaza downtown. Source: www.sdsheriff.net[/tab] [/tabs]