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BY DONNA WESTFALL
Since Erik Appersons swearing in, nine days ago as the new Sheriff, reports of positive changes are being called-in to Crescent City Times.com. One resident said that it looks like we’re getting our money’s worth this time.
Some of the complaints the public had about the last regime were the horrible attitude exhibited by department employees. Not only would they oftentimes not take a report, they were nasty, rude or uneducated in dealing with the public. With that type of treatment, people of the public were reluctant then afraid to approach the department.
What are you supposed to do if someone threatens to kill you? The answer is to report it to your appropriate law enforcement agency. If you live in the County, then the Del Norte County Sheriff’s office located on 5th Street off G Street is tasked with handling and taking a report. If you live in the City, you report it to the Crescent City Police Department. You can make a report over the phone. That’s the way it’s supposed to work.
In the past, many residents have complained that if you ever called or walked into the Sheriff’s office, asked for help in making a report and then were treated with rudeness, or hostility and then turned away; felling embarrassed and/or humiliated into thinking your ordeal wasn’t something to bother the department because it was…. well, list the reason(s).
Common things like stolen vehicles or motorcycles, breaking and entering, theft, and burglaries are all reasons for calling the Sheriff’s department. Some things are emergencies like imminent danger to one’s life; that needs immediate assistance. Other things can be handled as a non-emergency.
One county resident that had been brutalized by the department in the past called our office to have pictures taken of the gash on his leg. Someone drove down his street hurling a two to three pound concrete piece in the early hours of the morning. Their headlights were off, it was impossible to get a license plate. There may have been several people in the vehicle. Reports of comparable behavior have been shared around the community. Similar MO with concrete pieces thrown through windows.
In his case, fear of the past prevented him from reporting the incident. Reminders to him that there is a new Sheriff in town and things may be different changed his mind. Thankfully, he reports, he did call and they were professional. They were also courteous and helpful. They took his report. His spirits have lifted.
Professionalism is what we’re paying for in our law enforcement. People are looking for value. The Sheriff’s Department has a multi-million dollar budget and comes under the purview of the Board of Supervisors (BOS). That money doesn’t come from thin air. It comes from the tax paying public.
Theories and rumors abound regarding the BOS negligence in addressing the problems of the past. But this time around, it looks like and sounds like the public is getting their money’s worth. This is one way to restore the confidence of the public.