San Juan Capistrano

                           Does $8 Million Buy Quality Service? 

At the April 21 council meeting, a resident asked the council for help in addressing what he and his neighbors believe is a lapse in local police services provided by the Orange County Sheriff Department (OCSD). The resident, who lives in an HOA-governed community of more than 250 homes, related an incident in which a trespasser allegedly jumped over the locked gate of a neighbor at three in the morning. According to the speaker; his neighbor woke to find the trespasser in his gated courtyard, and a window screen had been removed. The homeowner held the trespasser until the sheriff arrived.

  According to the homeowner, the alleged intruder was neither arrested nor cited and when the homeowner expressed concern to the officer about an increase number of break-ins, burglaries and vandalism in the neighborhood within recent months, the responding officer refused to arrest or even cite the trespasser. When asked why the intruder was not arrested or cited, the sheriff allegedly gave the following three reasons:

1. The suspect had no priors. The homeowner however, claims this is not true; allegedly the trespasser has a record of prior offense(s). 

2. The suspect had no burglary tools in his possession, therefore the responding officer was “unsure of intent.”

3. A “No Trespassing” sign was not displayed on the homeowner’s locked gate or fence.

The homeowner and an HOA representative checked the California Penal Code (“PC”) to determine whether a “No Trespassing” sign is required in order to keep trespassers off private property. PC 602 describes trespassing as a misdemeanor, defined in part as; “Entering and occupying real property or structures of any kind without the consent of the owner, the owner's agent, or the person in lawful possession.” According to the speaker, the only action taken by the responding officer was to return the trespasser to his home. 

As a result, when addressing the city council, the speaker, who serves on the HOA Board, called into question the quality of service being provided by the OCSD especially given the tremendous cost of their $8 million annual contract, and asked the city council to provide in writing to all HOA members whether the law requires them to purchase and post “No Trespassing” signs on their front and back fences.

 Mayor Derek Reeve directed City Manager Karen Brust to follow up, either by attending the HOA meeting and/or by contacting the OCSD Lieutenant in charge of San Juan’s police services.

What do you think of the OCSD? Do you approve of spending $8 million per year for police services? Have you had a personal experience with the OCSD? The CCS wants to hear from you! Email us at: We respect your privacy and will not print your name without your permission.  


Anonymous said...

We've had the same problem with the SJC Sheriffs department - disgusting!
What is it we should do let the crime actually continue before we call? Run the risk of my family getting hurt or worse. All they ever say is "Well we didn't see it so we can't do anything... Or just keep calling"
Really with all the patrol cars in the parking lots of Bravo Burger or Ballpark, who'd respond?
The local sheriff department is a joke, the officers are rude, unwilling to file any formal reports that may result in actual paperwork or an unfavorable reputation for the city.
To say that our neighborhood is disappointed with the police service would be the understatement of the year!
Where does all that money go anyway?
I say wipe the slate clean and start over completely with the sheriffs department, a wrong turn was made somewhere along the way.

Anonymous said...

I do not believe the OC Sheriff Department is worth the amount of money we pay them.
I am of the opinion it would be less expensive to form a cooperative or singular department.

1. Orange County Sheriff Department is a target for lawsuit by the ACLU and other entities.
They have had to release gang injunctions against known gang members .

2. They are expensive and choose which battles to fight.

I have written about personal experiences to the staff here. Hopefully they will publish them in the next edition.

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