Claremont COURIER/Saturday, February 16, 2013
laremont’s budget suc-cess is coming back tothe community in theform of a new part-time policedetective. The Claremont CityCouncil approved the $30 anhour, $32,500 a year job Tues-day.
In the wake of the passage of thePublic Safety Realignment Bill in Octo-ber 2011, police are en-countering an increasednumber of low-level of-fenders released from county jail. InClaremont alone, police have seen a 10percent increase in arrests of people whoare either on active parole or probation.With increased repeat lawbreakers outon the streets as a result of this legisla-tion—up to 30,000 over these next sev-eral years—Captain Jon Traber andcouncilmembers believe the added pa-trol will help deter criminals from mak-ing a stop in Claremont.“Realignment is the thorn in our eyeat the moment, and we need to deal withit,” said Mayor Pro Tem Opanyi Nasiali,with unanimous support from the rest of the council.As it is, Claremont has seen a 7 per-cent increase in Part I crimes over thepast year. Part I crimes are comprised of both violent offenses against persons(homicide, rape, robbery, assault) andthose against property (burglary, theft,auto theft and arson). In 2012 there were947 Part I crimes reported as comparedto 2011’s 887, according to Capt. Traber.Of these offenses, 40 were violent, ascompared to 33 in 2011, while 907 con-sisted of property crimes.Over the last several months, policehave seen an uptick in property crimes,with home invasions and auto theftskeeping the Claremont community onheightened alert. Capt. Traber believesthis is a direct result of the realignmentbill.“In some cases, before the ink on thereport is dry these folks are coming backor being released,” Capt. Traber said,adding, “We continue to follow up onthose crimes as they occur and make ar-rests.”Though acknowledging the recentburglary increase, Capt. Traber notedthat crime in Claremont remains signifi-cantly below the city’s all-time high of 1661 Part I crimes, which occurred in1985.The most effective way to combatthese crimes is to take a 3-pronged ap-proach, reminded Mayor LarrySchroeder: lock doors, keep belongingsout of sight and report any suspicious ac-tivity. Community watch groups, likenorth Claremont’s Keeping Good in theNeighborhood, are another key way tokeep local crime at bay, added Clare-mont Police Chief Paul Cooper.“The people need to be our eyes andears,” Chief Cooper said.
Police pooch receives warm welcome
The new part-time detective positionis not the only boost to the ClaremontPolice Department’s ranks. Police alsohave a brand-new, 4-legged staff mem-ber.Dodger the drug dog, a one-year-oldBritish Lab, made his council debut onTuesday night, much to the delight of onlookers, accompanied by ClaremontOfficer Sean Evans. Dodger was equallyexcited, jumping up to greet the coun-cilmembers. He took a particular interestin Councilmember Sam Pedroza, whichsuprred a chorus of laughter.“Didn’t you take something out of that suit?” Mayor Larry Schroeder joked.Dodger has been busy visiting schoolsites with Officer Evans and working pa-trol duty, all with a positive attitude, ac-cording to the DARE officer.“All he wants to do is work,” said Of-ficer Evans, who says the pup works ea-gerly for his paycheck, a green rubberball.Since early December, Dodger hasbeen hard at work learning to identifynarcotics based on odor. Once he identi-fies the scent of a narcotic, Dodger hasbeen taught to passively alert the officerby burrowing his nose into the source of the scent, according to Officer Evans.Just last week Officer Evans andDodger, his trusty partner, were conduct-ing a parole search at a nearby hotel.Dodger had buried his nose between thebed and the nightstand, but OfficerEvans tried to pull the dog off, unable tosee any problems. As it turns out,Dodger had found methamphetaminetucked in between the 2 pieces of furni-ture.“I’m still learning, just like Dodger,”Officer Evans said.
New development approved for olddistrict property
As Claremont’s budget continues toboom in comparison to other cities, sodoes development. The council lent itsapproval to a 4.2-acre housing develop-ment at Base Line Road and MountainAvenue. Previously owned by the Clare-mont Unified School District, the prop-erty was purchased by developer DRHorton for $6.2 million last February.The Claremont Unified School Districtstill owns an adjacent lot, currentlyhome to the CUSD Service Center. Fig-uring out what to do with that propertyhas been a hot topic of debate recentlyfor both school officials and residents.Read more about the debate on page 5 of this edition.A set of 54 condominiums will nowfill the property, a lower amount than the61-unit maximum allowed by the land’szoning, noted Mark Carnahan, seniorplanner for the city of Claremont. Eachcondo will be equipped with an attached2-car garage and private backyard. Thecondos will be designed in 3 differentplans, ranging from 3 to 4 bedrooms.While most of the condos will be soldat market price, approximately$400,000, 8 will be sold as moderate-in-come housing, for $250,000, said DanielBoyd, DR Horton’s Vice President.While a majority of the council sup-ported the development, issues lingeredwith the complex’s proximity to the 210freeway. As Claremont resident RanjiGeorge, a scientist with the local airquality agency, pointed out, for thosewithin 800 feet of a freeway, “the cancerrisk is about 350 times higher...I wouldstrongly urge you to consider this.”Others were confused as to why DRHorton’s development would be ap-proved while a similar project proposedseveral years ago was rejected by thecounty because of freeway health con-cerns.Councilmember Corey Calaycay saidthe former development was rejectedfor more reasons than its proximity tothe freeway. That development hadbeen labeled as affordable housing andthe county had withdrawn its fundingof the project because of concerns overenvironmental justice, which arguesagainst the purposeful placement of af-fordable housing complexes in less-de-sirable areas like near factories and nextto freeways.“They didn’t feel it was fair to forcepeople, just because they couldn’t af-ford to choose, to have to live in those
City budget planning pays off with public safety dividend
COURIER photos/Steven FelschundneffClaremont Police Officer Sean Evans has a new partner in drug dog Dodger. Thepair will be working together as part of Officer Evansʼ work as the cityʼs DARE of-ficer, as well assisting other officers with drug investigations.The Claremont Police Department wel-comed Dodger, a British Labrador, theforce this week.CITY COUNCIL
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