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New sheriff's captain in town

April 22, 2004|By Jake Armstrong

Settling into his new post at the helm of the Crescenta Valley Sheriff's Station, Capt. Tim Peters said he is looking to build upon the community support base left by his predecessor and take a proactive stance in addressing crime in the community.

A 32-year department veteran, Peters replaces Capt. Ralph Martin, recently promoted Region II commander.

Crime hit a seven-year low in the city of La Cañada Flintridge in 2003, the fourth year under Martin's watch, and Peters says he a subscriber to the "if it ain't broke don't fix it" management philosophy. But that doesn't mean he's not keeping his eyes open, he said.

"My goal for the community is to be aware and on top of things so that we're not surprised by anything and nothing gets out of hand," the former Region I Headquarters lieutenant said. "The buck stops on my desk. I'm the person who has to be able to say we've got this problem and that problem and determine the resources for that."

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Cuts in the sheriff's department's budget could strain those resources.

According to Los Angeles County officials, the department is facing a $34.8 million reduction to absorb ongoing program costs, in addition to the loss of $2 million and 28 positions as result of a decrease in state grant funds. Reductions that would offset the loss have not yet been identified, which obfuscates the future, Peters said.

"The future is like looking into a darkened room with a piece of smoked glass in front of you?It's just hazy."

If cuts do come down on the station's budget, supervision duties would likely be expanded, a cost-cutting measure that gives the station's lieutenants and sergeants larger spans of control, Peters said. Programs that provide the least impact on crime fighting are next, followed by personnel.

The primary impact of budget cuts last year was to cut supervision, Peters said.

"In a large part, you'd never see a change in the operations."

Peters, who has a background in crime analysis, said crime figures can be key in identifying problems. While the numbers don't allow authorities to predict that a crime is going to happen, they do give a historical sense of what is going on, Peters said.

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