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Citizens give police department thumbs up

Sixty percent of citizens surveyed felt Rocklin is safer than other cities
By: Jon Brines, Placer Herald Correspondent
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For the first time since 2008, the Rocklin Police Department is asking citizens how the force is doing. Rocklin’s re-accredited law enforcement department of 51 sworn officers and 25 professional staff got high marks in a report released last Friday. On the question of satisfaction with police services, of the 77 percent of respondents who had contact with Rocklin police last year, 78 percent were very satisfied. Another 21 percent indicated they were somewhat satisfied with the department’s courtesy and professionalism, according to the report. On the question of feeling safe, 60 percent of respondents felt Rocklin is much safer than other cities in the region and another 30 percent felt slightly safer than other areas. Additionally, 88 percent felt safe enough to walk alone in their neighborhood during the nighttime, the survey shows. “Without the partnerships that we’ve established with our community we wouldn’t capture the bad guys and investigate the crimes that we do,” Rocklin Police Chief Ron Lawrence said. “It’s through your communication and trust in us that we’re able to serve you.” Police report the department was involved in 40,491 police incidents around the city last year and received 25,899 calls for service from the public. Patrol officers conducted 5,700 traffic stops and issued 2,323 moving violations. Last year officers conducted 376 felony arrests and 925 misdemeanor arrests and wrote 4,498 reports. Neighborhood speeding was the most serious concern among respondents followed by vehicle burglaries. At a cost to the city of about $3,600, on a budget of $5,500, an outside contractor mailed 6,000 survey letters to random Rocklin addresses. The letters had a website access-code to submit the survey on-line, rather than returning them through the mail. In the past, the survey was conducted annually but the recession changed all that, Lawrence told the Placer Herald in a previous interview. “It was originally hoped to be an annual survey, but now we only plan to conduct it once every three years,” Lawrence said. “This reduction was a result of budget changes, but I believe once every three years will still provide us with good information from our citizens.” Last year the department received 12 complaints from citizens, Lawrence told the City Council on Tuesday evening. “Of those 12 complaints, 9 of them were informal and handled informally — 3 were formal (complaints),” Lawrence said. “Twelve complaints with that many incidents is less than one-tenth of one percent of our total incidents, which is significantly low and indicative of the professionalism of my staff.” The most notable complaint came after the New Year’s Eve incident at Bistro 33 on Granite Drive, which was caught on video and posted on YouTube. The excessive force complaint was filed by an unknown citizen who was concerned about the arrest of John Banks Jr. by three Rocklin police officers using a baton and a Taser to subdue Banks during the arrest. The Citrus Heights resident pleaded guilty to disturbing the peace in a plea deal.  Chief Lawrence stands by his officers’ actions during the arrest. The next citizen survey is expected to be done by 2015.  ________ 2011 Rocklin Police Stats Police incidents: 40,491 Calls from public: 25,899 Traffic stops: 5,700 Issued moving violations: 2,323 Felony arrests: 376 Misdemeanor arrests: 925 Source: Rocklin Police