Briefing Room: If you see a violation, call the police immediately

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Hello Sun Readers!

Although we didn’t receive any questions for this week’s article, there is something pretty important that Chief Gonshak wanted me to pass on.

“Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, the Police Department and City Hall have received so many emails, calls, and voicemail messages from the public. We totally understand why people are reaching out to us. There seems to be so much information being put out from the news, on social media, and between community members that the truth sometimes gets lost in the shuffle. Plus, each county and municipality is doing things a little bit different, so it is hard to determine what applies to Seal Beach. We’ve also received some (sometimes positive, sometimes scathing) messages about the City’s efforts to keep the community safe. Depending on who you ask, we’re either doing too much or not doing enough. Finding that balance has proven difficult. City Hall and we at the Police Department welcome the public’s input – even if it’s negative – because we’re always open to new ideas and ways to help protect the city more effectively and efficiently. We read and respond to every email and call, within 24-72 hours depending on the date/time received.

“Although the scathing messages are difficult to not take personally, we’ve also received an even amount of thankful messages from both within and outside the community. You have no idea how much we appreciate the kind words, as we share them with all our staff. It is encouraging to know that our efforts are being well received. On a personal note, I want to thank everyone who has called, written, or has expressed their appreciation to us. It helps more than you know!

“Lately, we’ve received several emails that read something like this: ‘Three days ago I was walking on Main Street and I saw someone at a local business not wearing a face covering. Why are you not enforcing the rules!?’

“Okay, so two things:

“1) The Police Department wants to know about every suspicious person, order being violated, or crime being broken in town. There is literally no call too small for us. We will respond to EVERY call we receive from the public, regardless of the perceived insignificance of it. This is the promise all of our officers made to this community when we were sworn in. We take this oath seriously and sincerely want to protect this community.

“However, if we receive this information hours or days later, it makes enforcement of these violations extremely difficult. We try our best to be in a lot of places at once with our deployment; however, calls for service dictate our free time to offer a police presence. With that, we seek your community assistance and partnership. If we don’t know a violation is occurring, we can’t respond to it. If someone sees a violation, please call us right away and if it’s not an emergency, please call us on our non-emergency number (562) 594-7232. If it is a life or death emergency, dial/call 9-1-1.

“2) We simply can’t be everywhere at once. There are over 25,000 residents in this town, plus many more visitors and employees who commute to Seal Beach. Last month alone, we responded to over 2,170 unique calls or incidents. As proactive as our officers are, and as routinely as we patrol Main Street, shopping centers, and other areas of the city, there is just no possible way we can be at all places at all times. However, if we get a call, we can and will respond to it.

“Please do not ever hesitate to call us. Even if it turns out to be nothing, we would rather respond and check it out to potentially prevent a crime now, than respond to investigate a crime which already occurred. You are the eyes and ears of this city and we need you to help us keep it safe. We appreciate the great relationship we have with this community and the partnerships we’ve built together.

“Thank you again for everything. We will get through this together, as a community.”

Keep your questions coming!  Email askacop@sealbeachca.gov today and see if your question gets answered in our regular Q&A.