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More than 100 visit Ripon Police during open house
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First Sergeant Steve Merchant displays a weapon in the departments armory to Ripon families on a tour of the state-of-the art facility. - photo by GLENN KAHL

It was the third year for the Ripon Police Department to host an open house for residents.

The event drew well over 100 guests who were led on tours by First Sergeant Steve Merchant and traffic Officer Mario Ysit.

Members of the volunteer group, Volunteers in Police Services (VIPS),  welcomed guests Tuesday in the parking lot in front of the police department and explained the purpose of police vehicles parked side-by-side next to Wilma Avenue.

The SWAT truck used by Ripon and Manteca departments drew the most attention along with the quad used to patrol along the Stanislaus River for illegal campers.  A police bicycle equipped with a button for a siren on the handlebars and the walk-in utility trailer used in the DUI check points were also on display

Officers walked their visitors into the dispatch center where the daily routine of the dispatchers was explained and where they got to see the numerous video screens streaming live feeds from the security cameras mounted all around the community.

There are video surveillance cameras at all the schools as well as at many intersections throughout Ripon.  Officers also displayed the weapons they have in their armory that could well support a defense against any large gang activities that could move into the city where a main drug corridor is known to run on Highway 99 from as far away as Mexico and Los Angeles.

Officer Mario Ysit explained the use of the tasers officers carry and the bean bag long rifles that can stop advancing suspects without killing them.  One young man asked Ysit about his sidearm that he mentioned by name as a Glock.