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Ripon adding 6 police officers in near future
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Ripon patrolman Paul Staley welcomes Ripon residents to the police department Wednesday night from his police beat south of Highway 99 and east of Vera Avenue and west of the Stanislaus River in the southeast quadrant of the city. - photo by GLENN KAHL/The Bulletin

RIPON - Ripon Police are preparing to add six officers to their ranks.

Officer Paul Staley told those attending a community outreach meeting Wednesday that the department now has 17 officers and five sergeants for a total of 22 assigned to patrol and to detectives. That’s  in addition to having two community service officers.  The department is expected to increase its ranks by six officers in the coming months to a total of 28. 

The meeting was held at the police headquarters at Ripon City Hall on Wilma Avenue where one sergeant and four officers were on hand to answer questions from citizens during a Power Point presentation narrated by Staley.

The city has 15 patrol cars specifically assigned to officers who live within the city limits of Ripon.  The patrol units are left parked in front of their homes when they are off duty, which the department has learned keeps home burglaries and other crimes at lower levels.  A study has also shown that officers who have their cars specifically assigned to them will keep better care of the vehicles on and off duty.

Crime statistics for the southeast portion of the community were shown in comparing the  total of the four beats.  Simple assaults for 2012 to date totaled 31 in Beat 4 with 70 citywide.  Some of those assaults were from calls in and around the high school located in Beat 4.

Burglaries from January through October amounted to 23 within the beat and 44 in all of the community.  Thefts ranged from 66 to 217 with many of those also being qttributed to high school complaints.  Stolen vehicle reports showed only three occurring in Ripon with those being in Beat 4 for all of the last 10 months.

There was a definite interest from the audience about trucks being driven off of the truck routes of Jack Tone, West Ripon and River roads.  It was explained that there is a five ton limit, 10,000 pounds, with one trucker interjecting from his seat that the state is now requiring a number being posted on the sides of trucks that can be seen from 50 feet away displaying their weight.

“Main Street, Wilma Avenue and Fulton are not truck routes,” Staley insisted.

Recreational vehicles (RVs) may only be parked in residential neighborhoods for 48 hours, it was noted.  However, RVs may be parked in driveways of homes built prior to 1988 with an annual permit.  Many of the newer homes have parking room in their rear yards.

The firing of airsoft guns, paintball guns, bb guns, bows and arrows as well as pellet guns and sling shots are strictly prohibited within the city limits, officers said.  The last thing officers want to see is a child getting a pellet or a BB in the eye, they noted.

Staley warned the audience not to ignore barking dogs that never habitually bark.  Neighbors have sometimes learned the next day that the animal was attempting to alert anyone that his home was being burglarized.

In the worst case scenario, a dog has to be barking “continuously” for 10 minutes for officers to respond.  And often times, when they do, the dog quits barking as they pull up to the curb near the residence to listen.

And, for loud parties, there is no time limit for noise to be quashed and no particular time of day.  On the first complaint of noise from a citizen, officers will ask that the residents turn down their music.  On the second complaint the disturbed neighbor will be given the opportunity to sign an affidavit or a citation.

A Ripon business woman asked for an explanation of the curfew laws that she understood were still on the books.  Staley said that the curfew continues to be enforced from 10 p.m. until 6 a.m. in Ripon to keep the youth safe in the community.  He noted that there are gray areas that are left to the discretion of the officer.  One trip that is allowed is when a teen is traveling from work to home, he added.

Resident irked about touchdown cannon firing

One member in the audience questioned the lights at the Ripon High football field during football games and the firing of the cannon when the Indians score a goal – noting that it was disturbing to him in his home.

“They do it after every goal,” Staley quipped, “and this year they have had a pretty successful season.”

The police department’s website presents a map of the community detailing the four areas of patrol within the city.  The officers and sergeants have their names and photographs displayed with their related email addresses, allowing citizens to contact them directly.

The department also uses a Nixle alert system to contact its businesses and citizens of major happening in the community from collisions on the freeway and related backups to bank robberies occurring in the business district.  Other urgent messages may involve missing children, oil spills and anything that would be an issue for Ripon’s citizens.  Residents need to sign up to receive the notifications.

The officers covered the problems with identify theft fraud that is plaguing just about every community in the country and explaining how to prevent the break-ins of parked vehicles.  They said if there is ever a doubt about a car burglary alarm sounding at night in a neighborhood, don’t hesitate to call the police.

Sergeant Don Luthey cautioned members of the public about making 911 calls to the Ripon Police dispatchers for any emergencies outside the city rather than contacting the sheriff’s department first.

Luthey told Ripon citizens gathered in the squad room at the last of four community policing sessions held this year, that his officers have less authority to respond into county areas. If the Sheriff’s deputies are not immediately available, they will request mutual aid from Ripon Police to investigate.