TR Robertson — The first Coffee with the Community, sponsored by the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department and held since the COVID shutdown, was held last Thursday at the Starbucks on 991 Civic Center Drive in Vista. Numerous deputy sheriffs and other members of the Sheriff’s Department joined 26-year veteran of the department, Captain Ricardo Lopez from the Vista Patrol Station, in welcoming community members to join them for a cup of coffee and some breakfast treats and mingle with department members asking questions, finding out about the role of the Sheriff’s Department in the City of Vista and picking up a variety of pamphlets on important topics for community members to know. Jason Omundson and Chloe Turenne-Des-Pres, Crime Prevention Specialists, passed out literature on a variety of issues important to the community in staying safe and reporting crime. Captain Lopez said, “I want to encourage more events like this on a regular basis as we want to always be a part of the community. Our job is to not only protect the community from crime, but we want to be active in helping schools, being a part of events in the community and ensuring them that we are much more than what is behind the badge.”
Photos By TR Robertson
Also taking part in the morning coffee event were Deana Chenoweth and Jay Rupp, Senior Volunteer Patrol members of the Sheriff’s Department. Deana was a former hospital administrative employee and has volunteered for the Sheriff’s Department for nine years. Jay was self-employed before his retirement and has been a volunteer with the Sheriff’s Department for eighteen years. Jay said they both joined this volunteer program to give back to the community. The volunteer program members assist with traffic control issues, working at various community events, driving volunteer Sheriff’s patrol cars throughout the community, answering questions from community members and other assigned duties. Interested community members who would like to take part in this program are encouraged to contact the Sheriff’s Office at 858-565-5200 or go to www.SDSheriff.gov. Attendance at a two-week academy is required to participate in the program.
Informational pamphlets were available at the morning coffee and are available at the Sheriff’s Department. The pamphlets dealt with:
You Are Not Alone – A Free Program for our Elderly Community Members – Daily contacts with those that have signed up for this program to ensure safety. Enroll at 760-940-4551
Take Me Home Program – A program to ensure the safety of individuals who cannot communicate effectively, have medical issues or behavioral issues. Go to www.sdsheriff.net/tmh
Catalytic Converter Theft – A growing theft problem due to the valuable metals inside the converters. Toyota Prius, Honda Accord and Element, Lexus RX, Box trucks and late model SUV’s most targeted. Report suspicious activities to 858-565-5200 or Crime Stoppers at 888-580-8477.
Gift Card Scam Issues – Hang up on paying with gift cards for IRS debt, Social Security Benefits, Utilities, Tech Support, Paying Bail, Paying for Family Members in trouble. Report scams to www.reportfraud.ftc.gov
Deputy Explorer Program – In cooperation with the Boy Scouts of America. Applicants between the ages of 16-20 years of age, High School graduates able to perform 20-hours a month of service to Department. Go to www.SDSheriff.net/Explorers.HTML
Senior Volunteer Patrol – At least 50 years of age, U.S. citizen with valid California Drivers License and car insurance, medical insurance, background check, two-week Volunteer Patrol Academy course, physically and emotionally able to perform duties and volunteer six hours a week. Call 858-974-2084 or go to www.sdsheriff.net/volunteers
When to call 9-1-1 and the Sheriff’s Non-Emergency Line – The importance of how and when to use the 9-1-1 number.
These and additional materials are available through the Sheriff’s Office. Look for more information about the next location for the Sheriff’s Department Coffee with the Community events. Take the time to drop by and meet those who work daily to safeguard our neighborhoods and businesses. Ask questions and educate yourself on ways to protect you and your family from a variety of issues.