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Minutes: We Took Some Time to Learn about Crime (01/08/14)

January 8, 2014

Invocation:  Bill Abel

Flag Salute:  David Velarde

Raffle: Colin Stephens brought a $50 gift certificate to Marmalade Cafe.        

Guests: Kimberly Horn; Melissa Cohn, who is hosting our international student. Gloria is our international student. Dr. Marsha.

Dennis Johns is back until Feb. 18 and giving a program January 29.


  • January Anniversaries:  Gillian Amery, Burt Chortkoff. Gillian received her 5-year anniversary pin.
  • Betsy Munroe presented Karen Kawaguchi with a Paul Harris Fellow +6 pin.
  • The Rotary Club of the Five Cities-Eco in Pismo Beach is having its first anniversary party. It’s Jan. 25 at 5:30 PM. $45.  If interested, let Betsy know and she’ll give you contact info.
  • There is a Polio Plus Night with the Cal Poly Women’s Basketball Mustangs vs. rivals UC Santa Barbara Gauchos on Sat., Jan. 11, 3 PM, San Luis Obispo.  Families, non-Rotarians are welcome.  Special events at halftime.  Tickets can be purchased at for $4.
  • For all of you who voted daily on the 10 Million Charity Miles that United Airlines was giving away, Rotary International came in second. The Shriners came in first, and Wounded Solders was third. Rotary won last year. Thank you all for voting.
  •  Sergeant at Arms Steve Kally passed around new fine cards. Dana Goba passed around new district pins.
  • Lucille Ramirez needs to know who will be attending the Rotaract charter celebration on 1/28 at the Montecito Country Club. She needs to submit a total today to the organizer.
  • Don Bennett announced the  Salvation Army bell ringing final total: $1,669. Good job!
  • Steve Kally described a Bike Ojai opportunity on February 1.
  • Luz Maria Ortiz Smith described participating in the Rose Parade with the Rotary float. There were 8 walkers and 8 riders on the Rose Parade float. They started at 8 AM and ended around noon. It was about 6 miles. There were about 800,000 people watching. It was a fantastic experience. I saw a young lady explain to her father about RYLA. The PR was great. We were celebrating 25 years of women in Rotary. The RI president and his wife rode on the float. I encourage you take advantage of any opportunities to decorate the float. Sandy and Chris Tucker spoke about visiting the floats and decorating.
  • Diana Cecala announced next week’s duties.  Greeters: Ken Beisser, Sandra O’Meara;  Flag: David Vo; Invocation, Sherrie Fisher; Raffle: Chris Tucker; Sgt. at Arms:  Steve Kally
  • Susan Klein-Rothschild: There will be two dental clinics this year. People really look forward to this. They have already had their teeth cleaned and checked and found out they need major work done and this is their opportunity.
  • Polio NID day opportunity in India in February.
  • Fred Gaeden reported that will go to the foundation and Polio Plus. We are 40 people short. It’d be wonderful if most of the remaining members could please send in their pledges and their checks.
  • Scott Johnson’s church is putting on a fundraiser “Imagine No Malaria.” All the food is donated by Via Maestra. All donations go toward the charity.
  • Getting To Know You  with Scott Burns. What does he remember most fondly about high school? He was president of his Interact Club at Camarillo High School.
  • Ted Deck won the raffle.

Program: Joanne Orenstein introduced  Sgt. Riley Harwood of the SB Police to talk about neighborhood crime.

  • Dad was a WWII vet.
  • Born in Taiwan and grew up in OC. Went to UCSB in 1986. Was patrol officer and now does PR for the SBPD. Married with two kids.
  • One of two people who works directly for the Chief of Police. On the community relations side, I have 4 officers. Ideally, we’d have 6 people and divide the city up accordingly. The officers address problems not adequately addressed. Certain issues like neighborhood disputes, traffic concerns, homelessness, (usually) minor issues that affect quality of life.
  • Some issues we deal with are not so cut and dry. They may not be violations of the law. In those cases, my officers take a leadership role to take a multi-agency approach to solving the problem.
  • We come from an action-oriented culture at the police department.
  • 90% of my time is dealing with PR aspect of the job. The media landscape has really changed and is evolving very quickly especially with social media. My predecessors would go through police reports and issue a press release and send it out to the media. That’s how it worked for years. Recently, with the advent of social media, information is coming directly to me. There is good and bad in that. I think people in the traditional media do not care for that because they are no longer relied on.  Most reporters he deals with are very inexperienced. There are only a few reporters that actually drive the stories. It has become very competitive and cutthroat. Radio is very small.
  • My typical day starts with going through the previous day’s arrests to see what catches my eye. I am looking for cases that are newsworthy and are good examples of good police work. I care about the public image brand of the PD. People’s impressions of the police come entirely from TV shows and people believe what they see on TV.
  • He writes a PR and sends out the PR to about 100 people. Within 20 minutes, it’s posted verbatim on EdHat. Within 5 minutes, he’ll get calls from the TV folks looking to do a sound bite. A news story will appear on Newshawk within 90 minutes. It may end up as a story in the evening news. The next morning, the Newspress will pick it up. Independent will pick it up but they are weekly so they are not in the same time crunch. Back in the days, you’d get a reporter, sound guy, and camera operator to come out to interview you. Now, you get one person only that does it all. The reporters don’t vet the facts as well as they should.
  • He also posts on social media. Can also send out targeted alerts during emergencies (ie via location). Also uses NextDoor. A department Facebook page is being designed.
  • Question about restorative policing (Andy) – In this town it refers to homelessness. In other areas it deals with repeat offenders. Our school resource officer has the biggest input about that approach.
  • Crime has been down the last couple of years. 2013 – 408 reported violent crimes. Felony property crimes – 4597 last month, which was a 16% reduction. Rape and robbery down. Aggravated assaults are up, mostly stem from night life district and homeless on homeless crime. Many offenders are moved from prisons to local jails and since there is no space, they are being released and this is causing property crime. We have prolific offenders and once they are out, they go on a spree. Many people don’t lock their cars. People leave items in plain sight.
  • Most of our burglaries are non-violent. Usually home burglaries during daytime and commercial robberies at night when the business is closed.

 Next Week’s ProgramPat Hardy’s craft talk and Sandy Grasso-Boyd with her hobby talk on photography.

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