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CHP - Community Assistance Programs

    CHP officers are highly trained, sworn Peace Officers with statewide jurisdiction. In fact, General Order 0.1 specifies the secondary mission of the CHP as " ... in its role as a major statewide law enforcement agency, supports local law enforcement and stands ready to assist in emergencies exceeding local capabilities." 

    Local law enforcement agencies in several California communities were being overwhelmed by an armed, highly concentrated criminal element and, at best, were only able to respond in a reactionary fashion to the most serious crimes. The situation was so alarming that officials from these communities contacted Governor Pete Wilson for assistance. The need for a greater uniformed presence was apparent and the Governor responded by directing the CHP to provide these beleaguered communities with law enforcement aid.

    The commitment of CHP resources provided an added law enforcement presence in these communities and allowed local agencies to direct their resources toward suppression of major crimes. The success of the Community Assistance Programs initiated in 1992 paved the way for additional assistance programs to target high crime areas. In 1995, the CHP expanded the program and provided the following communities with personnel and resources to support local law enforcement agencies.

    City of East Palo Alto
    Overall crimes decreased 13.7% in 1995. East Palo Alto recorded 12 homicides in 1992, compared with six for 1995 The primary focus of the five CHP officers assigned to East Palo Alto was auto theft which continued its downward trend with a 29.4% reduction. CHP activity also included 476 total assault arrests, 252 felony arrests, and 1,056 Driving Under the Influence (DUI) arrests.

    City of Banning
    Law Enforcement assistance in the City of Banning began on August 15, 1994 for a 90-day period. The program was extended at the approval of the Commissioner for another 90-days and completed on February 15, 1995.

    Two CHP Officers were assigned on a daily basis to enforcement duties within the City during the afternoon/evening hours. For Officer safety purposes, the Officers paired up during hours of darkness. Throughout the program, there were no injuries to CHP personnel or damage to CHP equipment. A total of 957 arrests, including 79 DUI arrests were made by CHP Officers during the program.

    City of San Bernardino - "Operation Safe Streets II"
    CHP enforcement assistance was requested by the City of San Bernardino in August 1994 and known as "Operation Safe Streets." In 1995, the program was extended for an six month period under "Operation Safe Streets II," with a withdrawal date of December 31, 1995. Enforcement assistance was provided to the San Bernardino Police Department and the Sheriff's Office. The CHP had a positive effect on reducing the local crime rate, increasing felony arrests, DUI alcohol and drug arrests, and stolen vehicle arrests and recoveries.

    City of Isla Vista - "Isla Vista Foot Patrol"
    In November 1993, the CHP joined forces in an enforcement assistance program with Santa Barbara County Sheriff and University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) Police Department. The program called the "Isla Vista Foot Patrol," continued into 1995. Two CHP officers were paired with allied agency officers to provide a visible presence and support to local citizens and businesses. Enforcement activities included DUI and felony arrests, traffic accidents and stolen vehicle recoveries.

    City of Fresno - "Operation Fresno III"
    In April 1995, the Mayor of Fresno requested through the Governor's Office that the California Highway Patrol provide additional law enforcement assistance to the City of Fresno under "Operation Fresno III. CHP assistance had proven successful on two previous occasions: The initial assistance program "Operation Fresno" that ended in October 1993, and Operation Fresno II, which was activated April 1, 1994 and continued through May 29, 1994. CHP activity during Operation Fresno II included 139 felony arrests, 63 weapons seized, 310 DUI/drug arrests, 206 curfew arrests and 1,451 vehicles impounded.

    Since juvenile gangs are apparently at the heart of the crime problem in Fresno, and deeply involved in homicides, assaults, drive-by shootings, robberies, drugs and vehicle thefts, the objective of the operation was to attack through vehicle theft apprehension.

    During the period of Operation Fresno III, the CHP accomplished the following:

    • The "Operation Fresno" team (one sergeant, eight officers) served 37 no-bail vehicle theft warrants; eighteen or 48% of those arrested were juveniles.
    • Twenty-one suspects were taken into custody while being observed in the commission of a crime. Sixteen or 76% of these were juveniles, most had extensive criminal records linking them to other crimes, primarily assaults and drug offenses.
    • CHP Fresno Area Officers arrested 32 suspects for vehicle theft during routine patrol; eleven or 34% were juveniles.
    • CHP helicopter H-40 assisted in locating and apprehending 17 felony suspects.
    • In 1994, 15,620 vehicles were stolen in Fresno, and during the first four months of 1995 reported thefts averaged 1,182 per month. After public announcement of the program and the efforts expended in May, only 690 vehicles were reported stolen in June. The number continued below the previous average, with 756 vehicles reported stolen in July. During August and September, there were no CHP operations within the city and reported vehicle thefts rose to 948 and 1,058 respectively.
    • The total number of arrests during the period for Operation Fresno III were 90, forty-five or 50% were juveniles.

    City of Clearlake - "Operation Safe Streets"
    CHP officers were assigned to general law enforcement duties in the City of Clearlake for a period of eight months under the "Operation Safe Streets" program. The program was implemented as a temporary measure to help the Clearlake Police Department address the city's increasing crime problem, while funding was sought to augment the city's understaffed police force.

    The City of Clearlake had experienced a rapid and significant increase in criminal activities due to several factors: an unusually large number of parolees from California correctional facilities lived in the area, reputation as one of the State's major methamphetamine production regions and its close proximity to the state's primary marijuana growing region. A decline in tourism and its economic consequences translated to budget cuts in Clearlake's public services, and as a result, the city was unable to provide sufficient police staffing to combat the serious criminal problem.

    Six CHP officers and one sergeant were assigned to assist Clearlake Police Department personnel in traffic enforcement activities and focused attention on reducing such crimes as:

    • DUI and drugs activities
    • Outstanding warrants
    • Parole and probation violations
    • Vehicle registration violations and impounds from license suspensions and revocations

    The "Operation Safe Streets" program, which was responsible for over 350 felony and 733 misdemeanor in-custody arrests, and 600 vehicles impounded for DUI/drugs or license violations, demonstrated the effectiveness of four to six additional police personnel on the city's crime problem.

    In a special election in February 1996, Clearlake voters overwhelmingly endorsed a measure to add a 1/2% sales tax in the city in a special to fund eight additional police officers, virtually doubling the existing force. City and County officials credited the "Operation Safe Streets" program with a major role in the passage of the initiative.

    City of Vallejo - "Operation Safe Streets"
    On April 1, 1995, the CHP began a General Law Enforcement Assistant Program in the City of Vallejo. The incoming Chief of Police of the Vallejo Police Department (VPD) requested CHP assistance because drive-by shootings, "shots fired" calls, homicides, assaults on police officers, drug dealing and gang activity had all reached critical levels. CHP's mission during the deployment was to provide high visibility traffic law enforcement and support the Vallejo PD in emergency situations.

    Solano Area assigned six two-officer units for a five month period and five two-officer units during the sixth month of the program. CHP Officers attended VPD's daily briefings and were then assigned as a team to work a specific area. On several occasions the team worked together with Vallejo PD, Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement and Solano Narcotics Enforcement Team during potentially high violence narcotics sting operations.

    During "Operation Safe Streets," overall crime in Vallejo was reduced by 8%, homicides decreased by 58%, assaults with firearms down 37%, burglaries dropped 21% and auto theft fell 16%.