By Lt. Mike Peters, Chief of San Clemente Police Services
Every morning when officers walk out of the San Clemente substation, they see a sprawling city of 65,000 residents against the beautiful backdrop of the Pacific Ocean. As law enforcement assignments go, San Clemente and its supportive residents are the jewel of Orange County. Deputies work diligently to answer every call for service in a timely fashion. However, in a city run as efficiently as ours, we still need help. A quote from the late 1800s from Sir Robert Peel, the father of many community policing theories found today, summarizes my thoughts –“The public are the police and the police are the public.”
The ranks of your protectors are few, so I thought I would reach out with proactive measures you can do that would help us protect and serve you in the manner you deserve.
The month of June saw a spike in vehicle burglaries. Out of 90 crimes committed, 32 were vehicle thefts. However, 16 of those 32 were out of unlocked cars. So, out of the 90 crimes, you could have helped us eliminate 17 percent by locking your vehicles.
I’d also like to talk about social media. What an incredible platform for information. We have grand plans for our Facebook page, which is administered by a few of your deputies (which is why it’s humorous at times). A couple thoughts for those of you posting to many of the San Clemente-driven accounts. Please call 911 in case of an emergency before you make a post regarding the incident. Time is critical, and we want to get there as quickly as possible. Furthermore, never assume someone else has called. The more information we have, especially contact information for someone at the scene, the better we can perform our job.
Finally, I want to touch on traffic observations I’ve made since arriving back into the city as your Chief of Police Services. I am lucky to drive a normal vehicle that can’t be recognized as a police vehicle easily. At times, I might have pulled up next to some of you and politely warned you about some traffic infraction you might be committing. Many of our streets were designed when people still drove horse-drawn buggies. Combine the tight configuration with parked cars and you have an interesting driving experience. Add the occasional individual stepping out into traffic, children at play or an animal and you can see why we post traffic regulations, a few recommendations to make us all safer. Being hands-free on the cellphone literally means hands-free—not holding it away from your face with the speaker on. Following the driver in front of you six inches from their bumper will not get you there any faster. Stay within the posted speed limits. The two or three minutes you arrive early is not worth the risk you put to everyone else. We live in a beach city, so have patience with your fellow San Clementeans. Take a deep breath and relax.
I would love to write more often, especially for our readers who don’t partake in social media and computers. Let the San Clemente Times know if this was helpful and if there are specific questions you would like addressed in the future. I am privileged to be the Chief of Police in the city I grew up in. Let me help you keep it safe for you and our future generations.
Lt. Mike Peters is a native of San Clemente and was hired as the Chief of San Clemente Police Services in May.