Deaton and SBPD discuss budget, policing in latest coffee chat

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Ellery Deaton

Summer safety was the focus of the Wednesday, May 30, coffee chat at Seventh Coffee and Tea with District One Councilwoman Ellery Deaton, Seal Beach Police Chief Joe Miller, Commanders Phil Gonshak and Steve Bowles, and Officers Erin Enos and Jordan Mirakian.

After Deaton briefly addressed the City’s budget, Miller introduced the various police employees to discuss the topics of increased police presence, bicycle officers, and parking, and how to reduce crime in general.

Increased police presence

Chief Miller affirmed that the police department “hear[s] your complaints often about downtown not having a presence.”

He stated that this summer, two officers have been specifically designated to patrol the city on brand new Pedego bikes. (For details, see the story on page 3.)

Bicycle officers

The two officers who will be patrolling the town on bikes are Officers Jordan Mirakian and Erin Enos.

Mirakian is a transplant from Laguna Beach PD who has worked for Seal Beach since December.

Enos has been with Seal Beach PD for eight years.

“You are our eyes and ears,” said Mirakian, encouraging people to feel free to talk to them and ask questions if they see them.

Parking

Commander Stephen Bowles spoke briefly on some of the new technologies that are available in the area of parking enforcement.

He said that over the next 60 days, Seal Beach Police will be phasing out the right-side jeeps that are currently in use for “chalking” tires, saying this practice has caused rotator cuff injuries to law enforcement officers, and that it really is a practice of the past.

They currently have one car, and will have more, that will take photos of cars’ valve stems and post them on the Police Department’s website if they have been parked for more than the allowed time. (For details, see the story on page 31.)

Crime prevention

Commander Phil Gonshak gave instruction on how to prevent crime to begin with. He urged people not to be easy targets, by locking their things up and keeping an eye on them.

He talked about the importance of trust between the police and the community, and expressed gratitude that “the number one blessing of coming to work here every day is you guys support us.”

Gonshak encouraged people to tell their neighbors about the meeting, to tell them that the police are approachable, that they are “not the bad boy police department…Our goal is to be your guardian here in Seal Beach. We’re not warrior police officers. That frame of mind is long gone.”

He provided the best number other than 911 to call to get straight to dispatch, and encouraged people to have it readily available in their phones. The number is 562-594-7232.

A sentiment expressed repeatedly in the meeting was that while Seal Beach PD is making do with the funds and personnel it currently has, that they are under-resourced.

For example, the department does have two homeless liaison officers, but those are patrol officers who have the HLO tasks assigned to them on top of their regular responsibilities, so they are not able to prioritize or specialize in their HLO designations.

According to Chief Miller, at other police agenices can be good at one thing. “We have to be really good at 20 different things.”

Regarding the upcoming city budget decision and the allotment for the Police Department, he said, “I’d appreciate your support for that money.”

 

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