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Breakfast chat serves up praise along with criticism

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Breakfast  chat serves up praise along with criticism

Chief Bricker chats with Caltrans district chief of the Executive Services Branch Zellie Nogueira and her husband Rick and sons Trevor and Nick at breakfast Saturday at Perko's Restaurant.

GLENN KAHL/The Bulletin

POSTED September 13, 2009 1:48 a.m.
Not everyone was happy to see Manteca Police Chief Dave Bricker at breakfast Saturday.

“I wouldn’t give you 25 cents for any cop on the street,” one crusty, irate citizen at Perko’s Restaurant told Manteca Police Chief David Bricker.

Bricker was conducting his third casual “Breakfast with the Chief” outing Saturday morning  at Perko’s  to give Mantecans a chance to be candid with him and allow him to help them if possible.

Bricker spent two hours making the rounds of the tables at the Yosemite Avenue and Highway 99 restaurant talking with as many people as possible opening himself up to praise as well as criticism.

That first man he would talk to was sitting in the meeting room off the main dining room with a couple who were more amiable toward Manteca’s top cop.  The heated diatribe was anything but casual with the man saying he would be just as happy to get rid of all the cops in Manteca.

The irate confrontation stemmed from an earlier situation where the man said he wanted officers to look for a runaway teenage girl that disappeared from his home. They had reportedly declined because of the large numbers of runaways who leave little or no trail – not wanting to be found.

A man sitting on the other side of the table said he had been a truck driver and had past issues with the police, but also favorable experiences.  He said he definitely saw the need for officers on the street in the community. He had indicated the police had helped him see the errors of his ways as a trucker.

Bricker, who has been under pressure to save the jobs of the 16 officers who have been tabbed for layoffs, stayed cool under the harangue of the accusations attempting to respond in a professional demeanor.

He later remarked that he has always told his officers to be as cordial as possible in every situation, because it is often that first encounter with a citizen that will set their tone perception of police officers for years to come.  

“Most people will set their opinion from one incident,” he said.

At another table a citizen made issue with a sign on a business offering to buy and to sell catalytic converters – a business that was raided in the past for allegedly having stolen converters for sale.  He felt it should be removed from the side of the business.

Kathy Aartman Weed and her husband Jerry welcomed the chief to their table.  Jerry is a member of the senior citizen SHARPS group who had something to say about attempting to control traffic near the Bank of America armed robbery standoff.

Weed said he was surprised at how many people thought they could go past the yellow crime scene tape to do business at the federal credit union located at Yosemite and Grant streets.  He said he warned them they could be in the wrong place if shots were fired.  They didn’t seem to care, he said, even with a baby in the car – they were focused on getting into the bank.

Yet another couple asked how they could find where the concentration of crime occurred in the community.  Bricker explained that crime patterns can be seen on the police department’s website shown in different colored dots.  The colors represent the types and seriousness of the crimes in any given neighborhood or business district.

A Perko’s server, Brooklyn Gulart, told the chief she had applied to join the department’s youth Explorers as a cadet.  She hadn’t heard back and voiced her interest in becoming an Explorer.  Bricker assured her he would see to it that she was contacted next week.

One resident alerted the chief to drug trafficking in his neighborhood where there are 50 to 60 persons a day visiting a home in his neighborhood all hours of the day and night.  

The chief was surprised to find Zellie Nogueira and her husband Rick and two sons Trevor, 16 and Nick 24, at a table he visited.  She is the chief of the Executive Services Branch of Caltrans state highway department.
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