Newport Beach Police Chief Jon Lewis, who was introduced by Past President George Lesley. Jon was presented with a check for $2000 for Newport Beach Police Foundation for the benefit of the Randy Parker family. Randy had been working a drug case when he suddenly died and left behind a wife and two 11-year old twins. Chief Lewis is very grateful for our contribution to the family.
Jon expressed appreciation for being an Honorary member of our club, receiving the Spindrift regularly, so he knows about the good work that we do. He showed us the latest video describing the work of the NB Police Department and showing how the 258 members function to serve us. There are 231 full time employees, of whom 148 are sworn, 84 are civilian, and in addition 27 are part time. Also, there are 53 volunteers, of whom 29 are Police volunteers, and 24 are Police Explorers.
One way to try to measure the effectiveness of the Police is the call answer times for 911 calls. It turns out that 98.5% of the 911 calls are answered in 10 seconds or less (three rings of the phone). Moreover, for those calls that resulted in Priority 1 (such as residential burglaries, with “lights and sirens”) the response time averages two minutes and fifty-five seconds before the police arrive! The overall demand results in about 280 events per day.
The Chief of Police must keep three responsibilities in his mind at all times: his relationships to the Police Department which he “runs”) to the city government, and to the community, each of which will affect the Chief’s focus and actions. Right now there are eight action topics on Jon’s desk: crime strategies, homelessness, recruiting, succession planning, traffic safety, legislation and policing in the age of COVID.
He gave examples of the kind of questions he gets: “Is it true that you have a plan to remove all the stop signs in Corona del Mar? Nobody stops for them anyway.”
During the Q and A, Jon got a question of how the police are instructed to handle the “smash and grab” assaults with only one or two officers present. Answer: we must respond, catching as many as we can with an orderly approach. On the question of marijuana use, he noted that, unlike alcohol, where >0,08% is an understood rigorous number, the officers must show use that it is impairing the driving skills. Illegal use of prescription meds are also important issues.
Thank you, Honorary member Jon Lewis, for sharing with us the inner workings of the mind of the Chief of Police. We are proud of our relationships with the Newport Beach Police Department and its members.