It has always been a personal goal of mine to never find myself in the back seat of a police car. So, I was very glad Officer Canet allowed me to ride shotgun!
On Sunday, August 5th, at 11am, I met Senior Police Officer William Canet at the Coronado Police Department for my first ride along. My day began with a tour of the station and ended with many of my questions answered. Through this experience I hope to provide those who read the weekly blotter and residents of Coronado a better understanding and perspective on the Coronado Police Department.
Joining the force in 1997, Officer Canet put himself through the academy. He grew up in Lakeside, California and operated the family business for many years before joining the Coronado Police Department. Serving as the city’s Youth and Parent Officer, he won the Community Peacemaker Award in 2012. After two terms in the investigation department, as of January 2012, he is back on the patrol force.
Now, as one of five senior officers in Coronado, he is a supervisor, does field training, and is acting watch commander.
Senior Police Officer William Canet in front of his patrol car which can also be used as a mobile command center.
What is unique about Coronado as a community to patrol?
“This is a very dynamic department,” said Officer Canet, “We answer calls from animal control to something on the beach.”
Coronado Officers are expected to answer all calls, no matter what type they may be. Unlike other departments where specific officers are designated to respond to all calls regarding domestic violence and other officers are responsible for calls related to burglary. While, at times, Coronado can have a slow day, the officers must stay up-to-date on all types of violations rather than focus on just one specific type.
Why did you want to become an officer?
“I really enjoy working with children,” said Officer Canet.
He served as the Youth and Parent Officer for five years. Troubled children in Coronado are not “lost in the system” like you would see in other areas.
Helping to get kids back on track, Officer Canet gives talks at the schools and works with the parents.
What is a major problem in Coronado?
Traffic and theft are the two major problems Officer Canet identified.
With an average of two million visitors a year, Coronado officers are constantly contacting people who are not familiar with the area or local laws. The number of visitors is expected to increase 20% due to Coronado being named the number one beach in the country for 2012.
Every person contacted during my ride along regarding riding their bikes on Orange was not from Coronado and stated they did not know it was against the law. Signs are posted, what seems like every 30 feet, with a universal symbol depicting NO BIKES. Although everyone he contacted during my ride along was from out of town, Officer Canet said the locals do it too.
Depending on how many ships are in port effects how busy the officers are as well. The more ships, more families, more people, more problems.
Does Coronado have a busy or slow day or time?
No, it is always different. Mondays can be busy due to things not getting reported over the weekend. Calls can come in from hospitals after parties over the weekend for people wanting reports taken. Depending on how many ships are in port also affects the Officer workload.
“When there are not as many calls coming in we have the opportunity to be proactive,” said Officer Canet.
Patrolling areas where known violators frequent, staying in touch with business owners, and walking the business district are proactive efforts to control crime.
Homeless and Repeat Offenders
There have been several comments on the weekly blotters regarding what can be done about transients who frequent Coronado. One reader suggested they be given bus passes and sent back over the bridge. Officer Canet and I had a conversation about what can legally be done.
Officers can give them a ride over the bridge to the shelters if they are willing to go. The only way to forcefully take them anywhere is if they are breaking the law and it warrants an arrest or if the district attorney issues court ordered treatment or a “stay away” order from the Coronado.
Scavengers (bottle collectors) are a common sighting in Coronado. For Officer Canet, a bottle collector automatically receives a ticket. There are three options officers can use when dealing with certain violations; issuing a verbal warning, a written warning or issuing a ticket. His reasoning for automatically issuing a ticket is because it is a well-known law and the money from the recycling goes to funding the trash service for the city. Essentially, it is theft from the city to remove a recyclable bottle from the blue bins.
The tricky part of issuing a ticket to someone violating this law is that the officer must witness them removing the recycling from the blue bin or the reporting party must place a citizens arrest on the violator and submit a statement to the officers.
Common Violations or Things You May Not Know
No Kites on the beach- From North Beach down to the Shores there are no kites allowed because it is a federal airway. While kites may seem harmless, if one were to break away it would cause an enormous problem for a plane coming in to land at the Naval Base.
Yellow, 20-minute Loading Zone Curbs- Do not park there. Those are commercial loading zones. Unless you are in a commercial vehicle you will get a ticket for parking there, even if you’re under 20 minutes.
Red Zone in front of the Bank of America- This is not ATM parking. It is a bus stop. You will cause a back up on Orange and receive a hefty ticket for doing so.
The Large Middle lane in the Medians- while it is not specifically marked for two vehicles, it is a wide enough area for two, this is to avoid a jam-up along Orange Ave. While two cars can pull side-by-side and others can pull in behind them, the car on the left has the right of way and could potentially cross straight across Orange. Just because the vehicle is to the far left does not mean they’re making a left turn.
Fire Rings- If you get to the beach and all of the fire rings are full do not make an illegal fire in the sand. How terrible would you feel if the next day a young child, on their way to the beach, ran through your hot coals just barely buried under the sand?
Why is there always a CHP car parked near the bridge?
When leaving Coronado I always seen an empty CHP vehicle posted on the left side near the entrance to the bridge. I just assumed it was to slow people down.
That particular Highway Patrol Office is a terrorism control center. There is someone there 24/7 monitoring the bridge.
Senior Volunteers in Coronado
“The volunteers have a vested interest in the community because they are from here or live here,” said Officer Canet.
The volunteers aid during special events, enforce municipal codes, and patrol streets, alleys and do vacation home checks. The volunteers are added sets of eyes and ears alert in the community.
Police Station Information:
Located at 700 Orange Ave, the current Coronado Police Department was opened in 1996 and originally housed animal control as well.
The station has an underground parking area for officers, staff and squad cars, a weaponry locker as well as other equipment and can be used as a training area. There are several mobile command centers (one pictured below) used during special events or emergencies.
Another, separate, locked garage entrance allows for officers to bring in those arrested who are not combative in a secure way and begin processing them. This entrance can also be used to bring in and release those taken for detox.
The words “integrity,” “professionalism,” “teamwork” are on the walls just passed the lobby. Beyond there is the records department and dispatch area. One to two dispatchers monitor all calls. When there are two working one answers the calls and the other dispatches.
The investigations department is upstairs and each position is temporary. Officers apply for the position and serve for a few years and take a break from patrol.
The station is also equipped with:
-drug testing kits
-4 holding cells
-a processing center
-a separate juvenile room in a private area to meet with juveniles and their parents
-an interrogation room with monitoring equipment
Order of Events:
Observed two children on bicycles without helmets and informed them of the laws regarding those under 18 are required to wear helmets
While driving along Ocean Blvd, Officer Canet heard two males arguing over a parking issue as we drove past, he made contact and resolved issue before verbal argument turned physical
while at stoplight ran license plate of vehicle with expired tags
Coronado Bridge check
Observed vehicle with brake light out entering Coronado, made a traffic stop and fix-it ticket was issued
Monitored area where transients are known to frequent
Walked the blocks from 10th to 9th Streets on both sides, he stopped 5 people on bicycles and informed them of the laws regarding no bicyclists on the sidewalks on Orange Ave, each stop was directly in front of a light post sign with the universal sign for no bicycles on sidewalks
Beach Patrol, drove from North Beach at the dog park to south beach near the Shores, monitored for glass, alcohol, smoking and kites
verbal warning to man with dog in the wrong area of the beach
informed visitors that kites are not allowed on the beach because it is a federal airway , in order to fly a kite in you must go south of the Shores
Patrolled through the Shores parking area
Responded to call of male yelling erratically, drove through neighborhoods and soon located him, made contact
observed smoking in the park and ran identification information and issued verbal warning
Patrolled Silver Strand, observed stopped vehicle for non-emergency
Patrolled Coronado Cays
I had an extremely positive experience with the Coronado Police Department and plan to do another ride along during the evening hours. Thank you Officer Canet for providing me with so much information and of course, for letting me sit up front!
If you want to go on a ride along you can fill out a form to apply here.
Visit the Coronado Police Department website for more information.
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