Richard Cheechov read this statement in front of the Half Moon Bay City Council on April 2 at a special meeting where the council voted to with the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office to provide police services. Published by permission from Richard Cheechov to appear in Half Moon Bay Patch.
Good afternoon. My name is Richard Cheechov. As many of you know, I am a police officer with the Half Moon Bay Police Department. I’d like to thank you for the opportunity to speak to you today on behalf of the Half Moon Bay Police Officers Association.
It is with great sadness that I and my fellow officers of the Half Moon Bay Police Department have accepted that the Police Department cannot continue to function independently and that the city must look for another situation in order for us to continue to serve the citizens of Half Moon Bay.
The Police Officer’s Association has studied the proposals submitted for police services, discussed them amongst ourselves and with the Chief of Police, and would like to recommend the proposal from the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office. Specifically, we believe that the Sheriff’s Office option four would best serve Half Moon Bay.
Deputies from the Sheriff’s Office are familiar with Half Moon Bay because they are already here. They currently serve the Coastside surrounding Half Moon Bay and frequently assist the Half Moon Bay Police Department. Their proposal will allow us to combine services with neighboring communities for cost savings and, as the largest law enforcement agency in San Mateo County, call on additional resources as needed. Due to its size, the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office has a unique flexibility that would be a valuable asset to us in several ways. In our current situation, the Sheriff’s Office can provide us with significant cost savings and access to a variety of law enforcement services. Once the recession has passed, the Sheriff’s Office will have the ability to expand services in order to fulfill the communities' changing needs.
After the cost, another area of concern is how the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office will fit in with the people of Half Moon Bay. I have worked with San Mateo Sheriff’s deputies over the years and found them to be competent, professional, and ready to meet the challenges presented to them. I’ve also found Sheriff’s deputies to be friendly, approachable and able to adapt to a community as diverse as ours.
This meeting has been a long time in the coming. We are faced with difficult decisions about how best to serve our community in these challenging times. In the past few years vacant positions have gone unfilled, and were then eliminated. Overtime went from the occasional shift to a burden that officers have struggled to carry. The service life of equipment has been extended, and training has tapered off to almost non-existent. We find ourselves at a point from which we cannot cut any further. Every day when we go on duty, we know that our future is uncertain. We have done with limited resources for a long time, but this cannot continue indefinitely if the safety of the city’s residents is to be maintained. My hope is that by contracting with the Sheriff’s Office we will be able to solve these problems. The Sheriff’s Office will be able to fill positions long vacant, ensure deputies are well-trained, and replace equipment.
It is my sincere hope that by joining the Sheriff’s Office we will be in a position to provide for the needs of our city in a sustainable fashion that we can all be proud of. With this in mind, we support the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office’s bid for police services.
To read Sgt. Dennis Loubal's statement to the Half Moon Bay City Council on April 2, click here.