April 8, 2014 > Milpitas Council and Police discuss crime prevention
Milpitas Council and Police discuss crime prevention
Submitted By Frank Addiego
Milpitas is seeing an uptick in crime and looking for ways to improve the situation. During a special budget session of the city council, City Staff outlined proposals to increase efficiency, decrease response time and create a safer environment for all citizens.
ÒOur police departmentÕs doing a tremendous job with the resources they have,Ó said Vice Mayor Althea Polanski, before alluding to growing problems such as burglaries and break-ins. ÒWe need more people in the neighborhoods, more boots on the ground.Ó
Staff has officially proposed hiring two new police officers, although according to City Manager Tom Williams, the police department wanted to hire three.
One possibility is that the police officer at Milpitas High School will be reassigned to the greater Milpitas community. ÒIf the school district does not provide half of the funding for the school resource officer, IÕm going to come back and recommend to this council that we pull the school resource officer off of the high school campus and put him into the neighborhood because of the fact that in some areas, our crime is increasing,Ó Williams said while discussing education-based expenditures which included the campus police officer.
City council member Armando Gomez expressed concerns about the Great Mall of MilpitasÕs centrality to the crime rate. ÒI want to get that mall to fully pay for their services. If weÕre looking for revenue, letÕs go there,Ó he said. ÒThey only pay for a portion of their officers, but that is just a small portion of the resources that we put out there.Ó Gomez noted that when an officer on another beat arrives at the mall as backup, it increases response times to emergencies elsewhere in the city.
Williams noted that while there is an agreement with the mall to pay for three officers assigned, the property owners are behind in payment. ÒTheyÕre a little over a year behind schedule paying for that third officer.Ó
ÒYou could make the argument that the mall generates a certain amount of revenue, which it does, but those car dealerships generate even more revenue, and they donÕt have the same problems,Ó added Gomez, ÒI always see an officer there responding to something going on at Dave and Busters.Ó
The police department is taking other steps, which include joining a task force targeting drug offenders, and improving outreach efforts. ÒItÕs just a matter of getting our policies and procedures in place,Ó said Milpitas Police Chief Steve Pangelinan, during the meeting.