Council hears report on police performance in Del Mar

By Kristina Houck

A little more than six months after the Del Mar City Council decided to try to improve the services the city receives from the county rather than establish its own police department, the city’s new sheriff’s captain shared what changes have been made during the June 16 council meeting.

Theresa Adams-Hydar joined the Encinitas station in April. She oversees the day-to-day operations of the station, which covers Del Mar, Solana Beach, Encinitas and neighboring communities.

Her appointment came just months after the council in November heard a report prepared by Ralph Andersen & Associates that compared the city’s law enforcement costs to other cities and evaluated other law enforcement alternatives, such as creating a standalone department. At that time, the council directed staff to implement a performance plan and return in six months with an update.

“Perception, to me, is very important,” Adams-Hydar said. “It’s my job to take perception and reality, and blend them together, get a working project, and meet some of these goals.”

Del Mar currently spends about $1.78 million a year on its contract with the department, which includes one 24/7 patrol deputy, a full-time traffic deputy, a full-time detective and other support services.

Since implementing a performance plan, Adams-Hydar said the department has worked to increase visibility and connectivity in the community. The city’s deputy and senior volunteers have increased foot patrols in downtown Del Mar and by the beach, she said. Adams-Hydar has held “Coffee with the Captain” events to meet with residents.

Assistant City Manager Mark Delin explained the city’s seals have been added to sheriff’s vehicles used in Del Mar. The city has also obtained the department’s 2013 response data and has increased law enforcement presence on Del Mar’s website.

In addition, the sheriff’s department has worked closely with the city’s other public safety departments, holding monthly safety coordination meetings to work together to solve enforcement issues in the community, Delin said.  The department has also offered co-training opportunities for the park ranger and community services staff.

“We’re working to resolve some issues,” said Councilman Don Mosier. “This is going to be an ongoing process I think we need to follow closely.”

“I think the change in leadership has been a boom for this discussion,” added Councilwoman Sherryl Parks. “In only two and a half months, I’ve seen some creative solutions.”

Still, council members said they would like to see even more improvements.

According to Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) data, there were 2,366 calls for police service in 2013. Of these, 15 were priority one calls (serious accident, airplane crash, SWAT alert, blood run or a disaster), 893 were priority two calls (homicide, kidnapping, rape, armed robbery, residential burglary, grand theft, among others), 887 were priority three calls (minor accident, reckless driving, DUI, among others) and 571 were priority four calls (loud parties, prowlers, fires, assaults, burglaries, among others). The average response time was 11.9 minutes for priority one calls, 9.5 minutes for priority two calls, 13.7 minutes for priority three calls and 41.9 minutes for priority four calls, according to the data.

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