Time to hang up the Gun belt and Badge
By Deputy John Blenker, Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department
It has been a long 30 years working in law enforcement, but the time has come for me to call it quits and make way for a new generation to fill my boots. My career began in Los Angeles County during the 1984 Summer Olympics and, in the three decades since, I have worked with some of the finest law officers anywhere. Those I’ve partnered with here in Sonoma County for the past 23 years are by far some of the best in the land.
The most memorable experience for me during all this time has been getting to know members of the farming community, experiencing first-hand the profound effects their strong, unified efforts have on Sonoma County’s economy and helping them reduce the financial drain resulting from thievery. I am thankful that the Farm Bureau has given me the opportunity to write about rural crime prevention in its highly respected publication.
The basic message in all these articles is that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Keep a close eye on your own property, make it more secure and look out for your neighbors as well. Get to know the Deputies of the rural crime task force who patrol your area.
Be a good witness should the need arise. Watch for suspicious persons and vehicles that may be involved in criminal activity. It is often easier to do the little things that might prevent you from becoming a victim than to deal with the aftermath of actually being victimized.
If you do not already have one, ask your Rural Crime Prevention Deputy to help you start a neighborhood/rural crime watch group. These informal units of ranchers have been extremely successful in eradicating crime. Conversely, if you are a victim of rural crime ask for guidance from the rural crime task force and help from the Farm Bureau through what can be a bewildering journey through unfamiliar territory. I just recently handled a case where the Bureau assisted a victim all the way through the court process. Without knowledgeable management an inexperienced crime victim can become lost in the system, his case disposed of and the criminal set free to steal again.
Representatives from the Farm Bureau will actually go to court with a crime victim and make it be known that we in the farming community demand justice.
Working the many different angles of preventing rural crimes will ultimately make your property and your area safer. In 30 years I have learned from the mean streets in Los Angeles to the more tranquil ones in Geyserville that crime prevention methods are the same everywhere. And, importantly: They work!
As always if you have questions about Rural crimes and or wish to report it, Call Sheriff’s Dispatch at 707-565-2121 or the Rural Crimes Task force at 707-565-3940.