December 6, 2016

SCPD's Pioneering Use of Technology Supports Community Policing Policies - 5th Article in Series

The fifth article in the series about Santa Cruz Police Department’s longstanding commitment to Community-Oriented Policing.
Decades ago, the Santa Cruz Police Department equipped patrol cars with dashboard cameras and installed VCRs in the trunks to record officer interactions during calls. While it sounds archaic now, at the time, this was cutting-edge technology.

SCPD 1st law enforcement agency in the US to develop its own community engagement mobile app.
Fast forward 20 years and SCPD remains a leader in adopting new technology, in large part because use of technology and social media is a key element of the department’s Community-Oriented Policing.

Implementing new technologies gives SCPD the opportunity to engage with residents about their expectations for transparency, accountability and privacy. It also builds community trust and offers police officers additional communication channels to educate residents.

“We’ve made a lot of different technological advances over the years, starting with our mobile app, social media and predictive policing,” SCPD Chief Kevin Vogel said. “Anytime you can find a better way to engage it puts you at an advantage with serving your community.”

SCPD was the first law enforcement agency in the United States to develop its own branded community engagement mobile app. Launched in March 2011, the app provides access to the police department’s live scanner feed, interactive online crime maps, videos, photos, social media and the police department’s blog.

“Really, their goal was ‘How can we take all of our services and make them available in the way our community wants to access them?’” said Jamieson Johnson, a UC Santa Cruz graduate and Vice President of Business Development at MobilePD, the app developer.
“What the application does is centralizes a lot of different important services for the community to access.” 
VIDEO message from the app developer, Jamieson Johnson, a UC Santa Cruz graduate and Vice President of Business Development at MobilePD. 
Since SCPD launched its app, hundreds of law enforcement agencies have created their own mobile platforms. “But at that time it was unheard of and they were the first ones to do it,” Johnson said.

The department also was the first law enforcement agency in the county to utilize Nixle, an open communication forum that connects the police department with businesses and residents through text, email, a mobile app and more.

SCPD was an early adopter of social media, engaging with residents through multiple platforms to increase community awareness and access to department activities. The department’s current social media platforms include:
· Facebook – used to distribute press releases, request the public’s help in solving a case and share other items of community interest.
· Twitter – used for real-time updates during urgent situations and to share day-to-day activity with the public. Earlier this year, SCPD tweeted a “virtual ride-along” during a Friday shift to exhibit the scope and pace of a regular workday.
· Instagram and Pinterest – used to connect crime victims with their missing property. SCPD posts photos of lost, found and recovered property; proof of ownership is required to claim items.
· YouTube – used to share messages about safety with the public and help identify suspects in open cases where video surveillance is available.

SCPD also posts police logs online and shares updates about cases via its blog. Residents appreciate the access to information.

“The Santa Cruz Police Blog has been awesome,” said Deb Elston, co-founder of the community networking organization Santa Cruz Neighbors.

 “People love the blog, especially because neighbors do want to help find the bad guys.”
When crimes occur, SCPD’s online crime reporting portal allows residents to report minor incidents, like car break-ins, online. This saves officer time for more serious incidents and also gives a crime victim the option to file the report when he or she has time to do it and from the comfort of their own home. The SCPD website also accepts public comments and acclamations about officers. 

A recent — and well-received — addition to SCPD’s wide range of tech advances has been the development of the online bike registry. This program encourages cyclists to register their bicycles online and tags each registered bike with a blue and white California bike license.
The registry, the first in the county, is free and never expires.

Since the online bike registry program began in July 2016, more than 1,200 bicycles have been licensed through SCPD. Many are registered when they are sold at local bike shops, all of which have partnered with the police department to grow the program.“It’s going great,” said Linda Robinson, a SCPD records technician who leads the program. “It’s nice to see the enthusiasm.”
Linda with Bike Shop Owner Demonstrating Online Bike Registration
The hope is the license deters bike thieves. But in creating a record of the bike, which includes the serial number, a registered bike that is stolen and recovered by law enforcement can be returned to its owner.

“Bike theft is just rampant. It’s not just here; it’s all over,” Robinson said. “We have hundreds of bikes out back and we don’t know who they belong to.”

Click the links below for the past articles in the series about Santa Cruz Police Department’s longstanding commitment to Community-Oriented Policing. 
1st Highlights Community-Oriented Policing Tradition
2nd Community-Oriented Policing Provides Transparency, Accountability
3rd Community-Based Partnerships Reduce Crime
4th SCPD Youth Programs Help Community Policing Efforts Reach Kids

December 5, 2016

SCPD 1st Law Enforcement Agency in County to Issue Narcan to Trained Officers

On Monday December 5, 2016, the Santa Cruz Police Department became the first law enforcement agency in the county to issue Naloxone aka Narcan to trained officers.
Naloxone can be used by SCPD officers to provide emergency treatment to people who are suffering from a potential opioid overdose (i.e. heroin or opiate based pharmaceutical pills). The Santa Cruz Police Department and Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency have partnered to provide patrol officers with Naloxone (Narcan) an intranasal naloxone application.

Intranasal Naloxone Application
Training on Narcan and its use began today with a team of SCPD Officers. Officers were trained by the EMS Director, Dr. David Ghilarducci with the Santa Cruz County Health Agency on how Naloxone works, recognizing signs of opiate overdose, universal scene safety, the application of Naloxone, CPR & rescue breathing, notification of EMS, documentation, and legislation that allows law enforcement officers to use Naloxone. Santa Cruz Police Department members cross trained with the Santa Cruz Fire Department and AMR.
Santa Cruz County had 58 drug related deaths in 2015. Recognizing the seriousness of opiate use and the inherent dangers involved, a one year pilot program has been initiated by the Santa Cruz Police Department aimed at reducing opiate related injuries or death. This program is designed to provide Santa Cruz Police Officers another means to potentially save lives. Along with the deployment of Naloxone, Santa Cruz Police will be providing an outreach card to the patient in an effort to provide them with resources towards recovery.

While opiate related deaths are prevalent nationwide, a large amount of Police Agencies on the east coast are trained in the use of Naloxone. In general many law enforcement agencies within the state of California have not trained officers in the use of Naloxone. The Santa Cruz Police Department will be the first in the county of Santa Cruz to initiate this program.
The Naloxone was provided to the Santa Cruz Police Department by Janus of Santa Cruz who received the Narcan through a Substance Abuse Block Grant.
The Santa Cruz Police Department also would like to express its appreciation to “DEFIB THIS” for their donation of training equipment.

December 4, 2016

SCPD Tips to Prevent Package Theft From Your Porch

Online holiday shopping has many of us have ordering gifts for friends and loved ones.  Packages are being delivered by the truckload on front porches numerous homes in the Santa Cruz.
Packages that are left unattended make for easy targets for criminals. These thefts commonly occur during normal working hours, since many people are not at home. This is a crime that occurs in virtually community in our country.

SCPD recommendations to avoid becoming a victim of package theft:
1. If your employer will allow it, have packages delivered to your office.
2. Request that the shipper hold your package at their pick-up facility so you can pick it up in person at your convenience.
3. Have packages delivered to a place where they can be received in person, such as the home of a trusted neighbor who stays home during the day, or a retired relative.
4. If purchasing something from a large retailer, request that your package be delivered to a local branch of the store so you can pick it up in person at your convenience.
5. Request a specific delivery date and time from the shipper when you know you will be home.
6. Provide delivery instructions to the shipper so that packages can be left at a safe location at your home that is out of sight from the street.
7. Sign up for delivery alerts (text messages or e-mails) from the shipper; call a trusted neighbor when the packages are delivered, and ask them to take the packages inside for safekeeping until you get home.
8. Request that the shipper require a signature 
confirmation upon delivery; this will prevent your package from being left at an unattended home.
9. Check out other secure delivery options. For example, has an option for purchases made on their website called "Amazon Lockers," which delivers your package to a secure site. There are three Amazon Locker locations in Santa Cruz. For more info on finding an Amazon Locker location near you, see…).

This is a great time of year to get to know your neighbors and encourage them to keep eye out for suspicious behavior.  Call 9-1-1 to report suspicious activity immediately in your neighborhood.
If you see a theft in progress do not attempt to stop the suspect on your own. Call 911 and give the operator a detailed description of the individual, including clothing description, physical description, vehicle description, and direction of travel.
SCPD Blog and Facebook are two of the many ways we provide crime prevention information to our community. Encourage your neighbors to connect with SCPD on social media to learn about crime prevention tips for your neighborhood (like package theft!).
Happy holidays!

November 27, 2016

$10 Donation Gets This Cute & Cuddly K-9 Companion and Supports SCPD K-9 Unit

Perfect for holiday gift-giving!

The stuffed likeness of the adorable police dog comes complete with customized protective vests, just like our K-9 officers.

These huggable K-9’s are available for a $10 donation at the front desk of the Santa Cruz Police Department.

Proceeds from the sale of SCPD mini fluffy K-9’s help offset incidental costs associated with caring for SCPD's working K-9s.
Your tax-deductible donations will be put towards:
· Funding of replacement K-9’s
· Supplemental funding of community education
· Purchasing protective equipment
· Funding specialized K-9 schools
· Funding of medical expenses for retired K-9’s
· Defraying K-9 burial or cremation costs
· Health insurance for current K-9’s

Anyone interested in purchasing an adorable stuffed K-9 for a $10 donation, please come to the SCPD Lobby at 155 Center Street. Lobby open Monday - Thursday 9 am - 4 pm.

Thank you to local veterinarian Dave Shuman, this fundraiser originated with a generous sponsorship from Westside Animal Hospital.

November 25, 2016

SCPD's Youth Programs Help Community Policing Efforts Reach Kids - Part 4 of 5 Community-Oriented Policing Series

This week's feature on SCPD Community-Oriented Policing focuses on our commitment to Youth Programs. The 4th installment continues to examine the strategies and practices SCPD officers utilize to engage and collaborate with community members to build trust, and create mutual respect.
1st Highlights Community-Oriented Policing Tradition
2nd Community-Oriented Policing Provides Transparency, Accountability
3rd Community-Based Partnerships Reduce Crime

Youth Programs Help Santa Cruz Police Department’s Community Policing Efforts Reach Kids
Building trust between youth and police officers can have a preventative effect on juvenile crime and victimization, while improving quality of life in neighborhoods. Creating these relationships with youth has been a focus of Santa Cruz Police Department’s Community-Oriented Policing for years.
Reaching new heights! SCPD invests in school youth programs.
More than six years ago, SCPD launched the Personally Responsible Individual Development in Ethics (PRIDE) program in conjunction with Santa Cruz City Schools. The multi-faceted approach to early gang prevention engages with middle school-age kids, usually 11-15 years old, to educate, mentor and guide them in how to make healthy choices.

“The PRIDE Program gives us the opportunity to build lasting relationships with students, which can positively change the way they interact with law enforcement for a lifetime,” SCPD Deputy Chief Rick Martinez said.

In 2014, the Krassow Foundation made a generous donation to SCPD PRIDE and BASTA. Randy Krassow stated, “We are proud to support the programs and want to thank Deputy Chief of Police Rick Martinez and Bryan Wall, Retired County Office of Education Deputy Superintendent, for their leadership. I want to especially acknowledge and thank Officer Joe Hernandez.
Joe brought the PRIDE program to my attention several years ago. He is committed to providing opportunities to our community’s youth and giving them the tools they need to succeed".

The program is geared toward middle school teenagers — boys and girls — at risk of joining a gang. The 2016 session began in November with two cohorts of 21 students, one from Mission Hill Middle School, the other from Branciforte Middle School.

“I think this is an unbelievable bridge for the police department because they are forming personal bonds with these kids,” PRIDE volunteer Robert Orrizzi said. “One on one, these kids are great. But they need help, they need to see another way of living.”

Robert Orrizzi & Company explore aviation careers at Watsonville Airport
Youth ask to be in PRIDE following a police presentation at their school. Their parents also must agree to let the student participate in the free program.
The biweekly classes are geared toward considering good and bad choices. Good choice classes introduce kids to positive activities and show them options for their future, should they stay out of gangs. Field trips to UC Santa Cruz and Google, bowling, horseback riding and a day trip to San Francisco are among the highlights for kids.
PRIDE Students and Mentors on Field trip to Google Complex
Bad choice classes depict a different, darker future. Kids tour San Quentin State Prison, write their own obituaries, visit a cemetery, go through the jail booking process —including handcuffs and shackles — and do volunteer work at Salvation Army.

As part of PRIDE, youth in the class also are paired with a mentor, most of whom are UCSC students. The mentors help keep the kids accountable and encourage them toward pro-social activities.
Mentor recruitment seminar at UCSC
“Most of these kids are lacking in attention,” said Orrizzi, who has personally mentored five youths since he started volunteering with PRIDE. “They just want someone to know them and be interested in them.”

Around the same time as PRIDE started, BASTA (Broad-Based Apprehension, Suppression, Treatment & Alternatives) expanded from Watsonville into North County. BASTA is a countywide collaborative formed for the purpose of keeping schools and the community safe by reducing and preventing youth gang violence, school truancy, suspensions, expulsions, and alcohol and drug abuse.
The BASTA Operation Team, comprised of law enforcement and school officials, shares information and works together on anti-gang strategies and programs. A second BASTA group engages in case management of at-risk youth who have been identified by school representatives, law enforcement and probation. Their aim is preventing gang involvement before it starts.

BASTA creates a network of support around the youth and works to find the teen a “pro-social” activity, such as joining a sports team or getting a job, as well as working with a mentor. The collaboration works with about 20 kids each year.

“One of the things that works is noticing the first sign – the first drawings on their Pee-Chee folder or wearing gang colors,” said Michael Paynter, student services manager at the County of Office of Education, a BASTA partner. “Connecting them at that point with a sports program can be the simple solution.”

A few years ago, BASTA added a free summer sports camp in partnership with Santa Cruz City Schools that serves about 30 kids, many of whom are also case-managed through BASTA. Participants try out a new sport every week, and practices are led by local high school coaches with help from some of their student athletes who serve as teen mentors for participants. BASTA looks at the needs of the at-risk youth on case-by-case basis. Sometimes an action as simple as paying a sports team fee or buying cleats for a youth is all the intervention needed.

“I think for the right kids that small dose can turn things in the right direction,” Paynter said.

Beyond targeted programs like PRIDE and BASTA, SCPD officers connect with youth through the summer Teen Public Safety Academy.

The courses provide teenagers who are considering a career in public safety, or who are interested in learning more about public safety, the opportunity to gain an understanding of what it takes to become a police officer, a firefighter, a 911 dispatcher and other public safety jobs through direct observation and participation.

SCPD also has a dedicated school resource officer who divides time between Harbor and Santa Cruz high schools, and Branciforte and Mission Hill middle schools. The officer presence on campus deters criminal influence while also developing positive relationships and open communication with students and school staff. 
Full house of family & friends show up to support students at PRIDE graduation
“These programs are proven and successful thanks to strong partnerships and a lot of people who care deeply about young people, year in and year out,” said Deputy Chief Martinez. “Building trust between police and our youth is an investment in kids’ futures, as well as the future of our whole community.”
LT. Flippo with Youth Grad/ Future Mentor and Officer Gomez at PRIDE graduation
If you'd like to learn more about SCPD's youth programs or become a mentor, visit or contact Community Services at (831) 420-5952 or email:

November 18, 2016

SCPD Dive Team participates in cross-department training with SC Fire, City Wharf Maintenance Crew, Lifeguards and Harbor Patrol. Water Rescue Drills off the Wharf

Recap video of the action on SCPD YouTube
Santa Cruz Fire conducted water rescue drills off the Wharf this week.  SCPD ESU Dive Team is participating with multiple agencies in rescue exercises involving a vehicle off the wharf.
Training drill scenarios with every SCPD’s Dive Team member are coordinated with SC Fire, City Wharf Maintenance Crew, SC Lifeguards, State Parks and Harbor Patrol.
 “It’s very important that with all the training we do to fine tune operation ability and get our hands on the equipment and practice the different departments,” said LT. LeMoss.

“Water rescue training with a vehicle involved is especially important,” LT. LeMoss added. “Multi- agency training in rescue techniques is valuable. We will all be working together when there is a rescue attempt.”
Water rescues involving a car are a low-frequency event but require knowledge about such things as the science of ocean, proper gear and lifesaving skills for the victim and the rescue team members.

This series of Water Rescue exercises completes SCPD ESU Dive Team's 2016 training calendar. Every member on the team passed with 100% competency.

November 17, 2016

SCPD’s Community-Based Partnerships Reduce Crime - 3rd Installment of 5 in SCPD Community-Oriented Policing Series

This blog post marks the third in a series of five articles about Santa Cruz Police Department’s longstanding commitment to Community-Oriented Policing.
1st article - HighlightsCommunity-Oriented Policing Tradition
2nd article - Community-Oriented Policing Provides Transparency, Accountability

Santa Cruz Police Department’s Community-Based Partnerships Reduces Crime.
There’s a problem house in the neighborhood. You know the one. People coming and going at all hours, lots of cars parked out front. Maybe there’s trash in the yard or loud music late at night.
On the surface there’s nothing so wrong a neighbor needs to call 911, but it’s uncomfortable for the rest of the neighborhood and seems like it could be dangerous.

Deborah Elston, founder of Santa Cruz Neighbors, would say, “Call 911.” Not because it’s an emergency, but because Elston’s organization has spent the past 15 years teaching city residents to report suspicious activity, then work with the Santa Cruz Police Department (SCPD) and other city staff to address neighborhood issues.

Santa Cruz Neighbors, an organization representing a citywide network of neighborhoods dedicated to safer neighborhoods, and now-retired SCPD Community Policing Coordinator Jim Howes, came together in 2002 to address quality-of-life issues like drugs, prostitution, harassment, vehicle camping, graffiti and speeding. While these weren’t major crimes, addressing underlying issues could prevent crime from happening or intervene before the situation got more serious.
“We knew we could tackle all the problems together,” Elston said. “I think neighbors realize they are an instrumental part in being the eyes and ears of the police department. When they make those calls, the bad guys get caught.”

SCPD’s partnership with Santa Cruz Neighbors is just one of the many collaborations the department has created to facilitate Community-Oriented Policing over the last two decades. This policing philosophy looks at the root cause of an issue and focuses on problem solving to prevent the issue from reoccurring, rather than repeatedly deal with the same call for service.

“We worked with other city departments to do that: fire, public works, code enforcement,” Howes explained.

“The idea really is community-oriented government.”

Take that problem house described earlier. Through the Community Services Unit, an officer would check any emergency calls to the address and find the name of the property owner. Often, the home would be a rental and the owner didn’t know of any problems at the property. To prevent so many cars from parking at the house, the officer might ask the Public Works Department to take a look at the parking rules for the area. A street light could be installed nearby to deter late-night visits. The city’s Code Enforcement officer could stop by to ensure the living conditions are safe and legal.

“That way, you start sharing, delegating, giving out help,” Howes said. “There was really nothing we couldn’t solve together.”

Should more serious crime be suspected, SCPD’s Neighborhood Enforcement Team (NET) could be brought in to investigate drug sales, prostitution, gang activity and more. NET responds to specific, identifiable problems within Santa Cruz and, in 2015, made 272 arrests and issued 246 citations.

“Community policing emphasizes working with neighborhood residents to improve public safety. We do this by working together to identify problems and then implementing solutions that produce meaningful results,” SCPD Deputy Chief Rick Martinez said.

Another SCPD partnership exists with Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency’s Mental Health Services and the Maintaining Ongoing Stability through Treatment Team (MOST) program. SCPD was the first law enforcement agency in the county to implement the pilot program in October 2014.
MOST brings together Probation, Behavioral Health, courts and law enforcement staff to improve mental health counseling, employment and other services to clients, including those in the criminal justice system. The MOST liaison assists with calls involving potential mental health issues and provides mental health intervention and assessment services. In 2015, the MOST liaison made 1,349 contacts and referrals, and 691 mental health assessments while out in the field with SCPD officers.

The Bob Lee Community Partnership for Accountability, Connection and Treatment (PACT) brings together county District Attorney, Probation, Public Defender and Health Services staff, along with Santa Cruz police officers and city attorney staff, to focus on chronic, low-level offenders in Downtown Santa Cruz. In the first 12 months of the program, which started in 2014, 70 clients saw their arrests drop by 70 percent and their ambulance runs drop 80 percent. PACT has proven so successful at reducing recidivism, the program has been expanded to reach clients city-wide.

“We recognize that crime often stems from a social problem and that the greatest impact to crime reduction is addressing the issues at their root cause,” Martinez said.

Another SCPD program integral to its Community-Oriented Policing goals is the Parks Unit, which marks 10 years in existence in 2016. Created to provide dedicated patrols in neighborhood parks, open spaces and waterways to ensure a safer environment, the unit also coordinates and participates in several cleanups throughout the year. One recent cleanup, where Parks Unit officers and city Park Rangers removed more than 20 illegal campsites at Pogonip, yielded enough trash to fill five train cars.
Phil Kramer, executive director of the Homeless Services Center and former head of the 180/2020 Program (formerly the 180/180 Program), has been impressed with SCPD officers’ ability to work with vulnerable populations. When Kramer and upwards of 100 volunteers took to the streets to survey the homeless in 2012, SCPD offered insight, guidance and support for surveyors. They provided tips as to where people might be sleeping and, in many instances, were there to be the relationship bridge.

“In a way, it was both heartwarming and a little bit surprising that they trusted a relationship with people who were on the street and homeless,”
Kramer said. “It helped foster our ability to engage with people.”

Earlier this year, Kramer and his staff identified a need to have a streetlight in front of the Homeless Services Center on Coral Street to enhance safety for clients and staff after-hours. Working with Lt. Dan Flippo, the designated Homeless Services Center liaison, the light was installed in October.

“They seem to treat everyone with real compassion and understanding,” Kramer said. “We couldn’t ask for a better partner.”

Taking the time to look at and address what is causing the crime or nuisance problems in a neighborhood has proven successful for SCPD officers. This problem-solving approach – exemplified by Santa Cruz Neighbors, NET, PACT, MOST, the Parks Units and the 180/2020 program – is a key element of Community-Oriented Policing, requires collaboration with other city and county departments, groups that work with vulnerable populations and neighbors.

“It’s worth doing,” Howes said. “There is really never anything we can’t solve over time with people.”

For more information about SCPD’s community programs and to get involved, visit