The San Juan Bautista City Council at its Jan. 17 meeting created an ad hoc committee to oversee the economic development of local businesses on an ongoing basis. The committee, made up of councilmen Dan De Vries John Freeman will report to the council once a month with suggestions to promote businesses.
Council members also discussed a report submitted by Level 1 Private security, with which the city contracts for overnight security patrols on a monthly basis to augment the patrols offered by the Sheriff's Office. Level 1, headquartered in Aromas, provides residential and commercial security with many of its accounts based locally. Their services include providing uniformed, un-armed and armed security, towing enforcement and citation enforcement. The city formalized its agreement with the security company in December 2016.
De Vries said, “I think it’ll be helpful for us to know what are their criteria for involving the sheriff’s department,” after he noticed a few incidents in which sheriffs deputies could have been called to the city but were not. He also asked how the the communication between Level 1 Private Security and the Sheriff’s Department would work.
The city cited nighttime break-ins as being the “genesis” for why council members felt the additional off-hours coverage was needed. The chief operating officer of Level 1 previously told the council that his security personnel would not be handcuffing suspects, rather they would observe and report. The personnel wear body cams and their vehicles have dash cams.
De Vries later asked that even though 911 should be called most of the time, “what would happen if there was something crazy that was happening like a shooting or a homicide in progress?” He said Level 1 employees would have to relay that to 911 and that could cause a delay resulting in threats to safety or loss of life.
Martorana said, "There was a bit of talk about that communication path and one of our concerns was that, particularly with someone choosing not to call 911 at a point when the Level 1 Security is not on, we don't want to confuse the issue. We have enough trouble getting citizens to call 911 as it is."
While the city didn't have immediate answers, another committee, made up of Martorana and DeVries, plans to meet with the sheriff's office to discuss the best course of action. In December, city officials cited nighttime break-ins as being the “genesis” for why council members felt the additional off-hours coverage was needed.
De Vries asked, "To what extent can a concerned citizen call Level 1?"
Martorana answered, "I don't know what the best path is for that. I would encourage everyone to call 911, always."