Lindsay takes stock, suggests changes to public safety dept.

Interim chief of public safety presents council with an update of the public safety department, council suggests adding a pipeline for youth who want to become officers

LINDSAY – The Lindsay Public Safety Department is going through some changes as interim Chief Robert Moore assumed command on the department late last year. One thing the city council wants to see is additional mentorship for youth.

During a public safety annual update presentation last month on Dec. 14, Councilmember Angel Cerros asked whether the department was tracking youth crimes. He added that he had some concerns of Lindsay youth going “down the wrong path.” Fellow Councilmember Romero Serna followed up Cerros’ question and asked with the public safety department had a pipeline program for kids interested in becoming police officers.

Moore told the council there is not a youth program in the department, but he added that there have been discussions about the importance of mentorship in the community.

“I’m not sure how it went away in this department, but I know how it went away in other departments. A lot of it has to do with funding, cut backs in personnel and finding the right person to run a youth program,” Moore said.

But the interim chief of public safety added that officers are doing what they can in terms of interacting with Lindsay kids. He pointed out officer Adrianna Nave in particular.

“It just takes that kind of a person and that type of mentorship. And she just she has the flame for it,” Moore said.

Officer Nave is just one of 14 cops in Lindsay, and when the chief and other administrative officers are taken out of the equation, there are only eight cops available for 24/7 patrols. Fortunately for the city they just swore in two more officers at their Dec. 14 meeting. Unfortunately though, another officer resigned to take a position with the Sheriff’s office.

Adding to their employment troubles, the cost of keeping up officers’ dual role as police and fire fighters is becoming burdensome. Not only is it expensive to have officers play the role of fire fighters, the time it takes to go through the training is a drag on the schedule.

Moore pointed out that the department has only one qualified firefighter. He said that the city’s firefighter training does not meet the standard to make someone a fire fighter, and all it does is give officers enough training to help the fire fighters. Moore said that, for example, if the two officers they had sworn in were to become qualified firefighters the city would have to put them through paramedic training and the fire academy which would not only cost money, but 18 months of time.

Still, Moore said that he has been impressed with the dedication Lindsay officers have. He said having officers in the same department for a decade or more is well outside of the norm.

“I think that the department as a whole is a great group of individuals…Most small departments have high turnover. And to find out I have two lieutenants with 20 years at the same department, and sergeants with 10 to 12 years, officers with 10 or 12 years I was like ‘wow!’ So the experience level is pretty high,” Moore said.

The Lindsay City Council later voted to form a committee to interview candidates to be the next fulltime Lindsay public safety chief. But while Moore is still serving out his interim status, he said that he will be taking inventory and auditing the status of the department. He said he wanted the next chief to have a document that outlined the status of the department including equipment, weapons, vehicles, staff and more.

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