Bart Mendoza 5 a.m., Dec. 8
Coronado Police Officer Ryan serves the Crown City well. Coronado PD granted me a four-hour ride along with Ryan. We met mid-morning and got to right to cruising. I was impressed how he assured his safety and mine. I don’t see a lot of news coming from Coronado, so I ask about trouble spots. Beyond motorized lawbreakers, there isn’t a lot of crime, although they’re not immune. I heard about jewelry thefts, bank robberies, even stolen bicycles – left unlocked. They watch for trucks full of bikes. Patrolling a school area, I heard about a man who has been exposing himself to different schoolchildren eight or nine times now. He remains at large.
Quality of life expectations come from the policing standards used. Ryan is clear on this. He knows Coronado taxpayers want friendly and approachable policing. When they call, they expect and receive prompt, professional service no matter the complaint. Not much radio chatter or lights and sirens here. Citizens are known to call for loose dogs and abandoned cars - defined as being unmoved for more than 72-hours. They are closely enforced issues in Coronado with their own animal control officer and two parking controllers. Their duties keep them busy. Also, you’re not expected to pilfer recyclables or ride skateboards on the big island.
Apartment complexes typically generate more alcohol and disorderly conduct calls than other neighborhoods. It’s the same here. The town has no medical marijuana dispensaries, but it’s a given many young adults have some weed. Coronado was laid with alleyways. They keep the streets cleaner and they give the police another patrol route. I don’t think I’ve ever seen modern hobo visitors in Coronado on the many times I’ve been there. It’s compact with fewer than 50 streets grouped into a flat, square cluster and 1 very long street – the strand. The city starts at the bottom of the strand in IB and ends up at the navy gates. You are never far from beach or bay water. A good thing for policing is their alcohol free parks and beaches. City boundaries adjoin Harbor, Navy, Border Patrol, CHP, and Sheriff juristictions; officers give and get courtesy backup when needed.
The city held a town hall meeting regarding traffic conditions last September, attended by 130 concerned residents. Ongoing issues traffic volumes are addressed on a traffic-engineering web page. A tunnel was considered and voted-down as a solution. It’s estimated as many as 100,000 commuters, tourists, and residents can travel through the city some weekdays. The council has a good idea: “move people not cars”.
Ryan stays continuously occupied during his 12-hour shifts. This morning two welfare checks came and went. A car was stopped for phone use and then two more with dark windows. They are common violations Ryan can spot easily. Wants and warrants are easily checked in the car and Ryan puts the available technology to its maximum use.
The city is pretty condensed with only one elementary, one middle, and one high school, one fire station and one police station with required holding cells. Coronado uses two motorcycles and a Mustang GT, but no K9s.
Wrapping my tour with Ryan, he transported a young sailor to the station in his back seat. He was stopped for speeding. ‘Running hatchet man’ stickers on his car also drew officers’ attention. They were about 1’ tall placed on each side window. I’m told they are gang symbols and signal trouble. A sheriff’s deputy soon came to take pictures of tattoos on the man’s hands. The driver was arrested on a weapon charge, his possession of a switchblade and the car was towed because of an invalid license.
Officer Ryan appreciates his good fortune working on the crown. Coronado residents are quite fortunate he’s here on their behalf.