Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Its a New Year!

Well, 2016 is here and I couldn't be happier and more excited for the local things going on. However let me answer a few questions that I have been posed in the recent weeks.

1. Chief how many boards/groups are you involved with in the community, you are always busy, when do you sleep?

Well, I didn't want to answer this for fear that my wife would actually find out how many, but you asked so I'll answer.

I am on the board or involved with:
Rotary Club of Hollister (Board Member, Club Service & Membership Chair, Mission 10 Committee)
San Benito Boy Scouts of America District (Chairman of Board)
Silicon Valley Monterey Bay Council Boy Scouts of America (District Chairs are also Board Members)
San Benito PAL (Vice President)
Saddle Horse Show & Rodeo Board (Director - Public Safety Committee)
RAN - Remote Access Network Board (Vice Chair)
Red Ribbon 5K Committee (Member)
United Way of San Benito County (Member - when I can make it)
CCP - Community Corrections Partnership (Voting Member)
UNET - Unified Narcotics Enforcement Team (Voting Member)
CHSRA D4 - California High School Rodeo District 4 (Social Media, Webmaster)
BALSMG - Bay Area Law Enforcement Social Media Group - (Member)
CPCA - California Chiefs of Police Association (Member & Technology Committee)
IACP - International Association of Chiefs of Police (Member)

There's probably a few others. I'll sleep when I'm dead. I've always said that when I pass away and leave this world, it will be with an overused, broken and beaten down body. But I'll leave happy because I had a full life.

Being a Chief of Police is not a 9-5 PM job. It is a 24/7 365 kind of position. I literally get calls 24/7 for work. But, I love the job because I truly have the best people working for me and with me in Hollister. Hollister is a great city to work for. I've been recruited by other cities and agencies, I just don't see myself going anywhere else because I really like it here. It's the people and the relationships with them I think. It also helps to have a very supportive wife and family behind me, as absolutely none of this could get accomplished without them.

2. Can you get grants to do your training because it looks expensive?

 We have been fortunate over the last three-four years in receiving in the neighborhood of $1,000,0000 in grants/additional special funding. It really helps with items like police cars, car camera systems, body camera's, pet adoption trailers, traffic equipment, overtime for special operations, school resource officers, training, safety equipment and a few other things.

Many of the ideas for some of this funding and the grants came from conferences/trainings my staff and I have attended. Staff training is vital for the success of our agency and this city and most of it is required by law. Thankfully, a lot of public safety training is totally reimbursable (tuition, travel, accommodations, meals and overtime to backfill the officers shift) by California POST - Peace Officers Standards and Training.

To answer, yes we get grants for training but there is some training that grants do not cover. We have a training budget of about 35k a year for the Hollister Police Department. That is a low number. The reason why it is so low, is that we have worked hard to send our staff to Train the Trainer classes and with that certification we can train our folks in many of the required disciplines with our own staff. We also have over time, purchased all of the needed training equipment to support this function. We have also helped with training other law enforcement agencies. This saves a tremendous amount of money and the cool thing is with that certification, some of the overtime incurred is actually reimbursable as well (staff time and backfill). This was a strategy we adopted about five years that's seemed to have come to fruition and is paying off for us.

I just checked our budget and we have expended $17,200 in training funds for FY 15/16. That's about 1/2 of the 35k budget and is on track for FY 15/16.

3. Where do I find information on Hollister's crime rates?
Easy one, I post each year's (five sequential years) on our crime stats page on the website here. HPD Crime Stats. Our website can be easily accessed at hollisterpolice.org. If you a specific crime / stat, you would like me check on, feel free to email us at info@police.hollister.ca.us.

4. What are your plans for 2016?

So right of the gate, we start working on the budget for FY 16/17. In truth we work on it all year long, but the heavy lifting is done in the first several months of the new year. I want a lean & efficient budget that anticipates our historical needs.

We also need to hire a few positions to get our staff filled out. The priority is the Police Officer positions. A few years ago we started hiring at the recruit level for a position or two a year. This allows us to send a person to the academy or our choice and then train them after graduation. It's been successful thus far and we will be sending at least one recruit this month to start the academy. Also a priority is to get LiveScan up and running at Hollister Police Department. The vision is to have the machine for both in-house use and public use. We first need to hire & train an employee to run the system and we are in the process now. If your interested in a position with us, check joinhpd.org or the City of Hollister jobs website.

Personally, I hope my family does well in their endeavors throughout the year. This will be my last year as SBC District Chair for Boy Scouts of America. The time has flown by with Boy Scouts, it's a great organization for our communities youth.  Also, I want to build up SBC PAL and our Jr Giants program. I would like the "problem" of running out of room for the program as that will tell me we are doing a good job and offering opportunity to our communities youth.

I would also like to get back to work in my wood shop. It is by far, my favorite hobby. I want to make some nice solid furniture pieces this year.

5. Pot, Cannabis, Marijuana what do you think about legalizing it in California?

Cannabis Sativa is a plant that has many uses. Hemp a byproduct can be used for clothes and other textiles. THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) the main constituent has been used medicinally for a long time. I think there about 100 different compounds in Cannabis if memory serves, but THC is the one that most people are familiar with.

So since possession, sales and use are still a federal crime (for the time being) what lawmakers/supporters are proposing is to decriminalize it in California, not legalize it. There is a profound difference. The California Chiefs of Police Association (of  which I am a member) is working with the lawmakers/supporters for smart legislation alternatives.

So my thoughts are simple. I do not think government should tell you what you can do in your own castle (home) as long as you're not hurting anyone or committing egregious crimes against humanity. I do not think that government should be in our doctor's offices or involved in our medical treatment. I also believe there is a legitimate place in the medical arena for cannabis.

Here is what I do not like about cannabis and other intoxicants (alcohol, prescription drugs, etc). People drive while under the influence of them. Kids get their hands on them. To introduce access, more widely to yet another substance that folks can abuse and potentially harm others by its over usage, is potentially dangerous in my opinion.

Additionally - Edibles are a problem. There isn't a standard on potency. We have no idea at present what the proper dosage is, because we don't have a national standard for testing potency. We don't even have a field test for potency (yet). We can only test for IF or IF it's not THC.

A lawmaker in Colorado was at a training I attended a few years ago. He explained to the audience that the recommended "dosage" of a THC laced/topped chocolate chip cookie was 1/24 of the cookie (dosage was on the packaging). He then showed the crowd a gummy bear. The recommended dosage (again on the packaging) of the THC laced/topped gummy bear was 1/10 of the bear.

Who eats 1/24 of a cookie or 1/10 of a gummy bear? I've never had a THC cookie, but I imagine they are just delicious as a regular cookie. I've also never just eaten 1/24 of a cookie in my life. Cookies are good.

I use these examples to show you that we have a ton of work still in this arena. I would hate to see a child get a hold of some of these edibles on accident.

I explained my edibles observations a few months back to a group. One of the group members said, "so if kid eats a bag of these cookies, maybe the kid will be really high for awhile". I told the group to exchange the edible with a bottle of liquor and the group understood the danger.

A child's mind cannot compensate for THC just like it cannot compensate with introduction of alcohol. I'm not saying the two substances are the same, but I think there is a strong argument for similarities and comparison. Children's Hospital of Colorado has a brief explanation here. Also an article out of Oregon on the subject here.

Again we need to be smarter than the problem.

Does this make me anti-cannabis? No not at all, it just makes me pro-safety and I think the details need to be discussed and analyzed for the greater good.



We are working on SBC PAL's Jr Giants program right now. In fact, I have a PAL board meeting this week and some of the details will start to take shape for the 2016 Jr Giants season. We will need MORE volunteers. I said, we will need MORE volunteers. I want this season to be big, fun and good for the kids of our community. Please, if you have any interest in our program, sign up when I post the links. We will need coaches and team parents. My basic rule of thumb is, if your child is in the program, please considering helping to insure the success of the program. 

We are also working internally at HPD on the 2016-17 budget (as I previously noted). It is a ton of work because we want to be accurate and efficient. I will say "sorry" ahead of time to our staff on the budget team.

I'll soon be writing a grant or two for the coming year. I'm thinking about items like, motorcycles, overtime and equipment.

Also, I would like to take my hat off to our Development Services Department at the City of Hollister. They are really doing some amazing work on our parks. I think this year they will be tackling other city parks. It's so nice to see these facilities get upgraded and more useable (is that a word?). 


I'll write something next month. Be nice to one another in the meantime.

Send your questions / concerns to me to dwestrick@police.hollister.ca.us or my office line is (831) 636-4330 ext 110

I can be also found on social media at:




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