By DOUGLAS W. MOTLEY
LuluBelle’s Coffee House & Bakery in Running Springs was the setting for the Twin Peaks Sheriff’s Station’s final Coffee with a Cop event of the year.
More than a dozen sheriff’s deputies, executive officers and other station personnel were joined by several California Highway Patrol officers and about a dozen local residents who gathered for coffee and pastries and chatted with one another. Several mountain area residents discussed law enforcement issues with sheriff’s deputies and CHP officers.
One such resident from Lake Arrowhead said her neighbor’s home was broken into recently and that she attended the event to find out what sheriff’s deputies were doing to curb those kinds of crimes.
Tess Hitt from Crestline said she had attended a previous Coffee with a Cop at Higher Grounds Coffee House in Crestline. “I love this; it’s a great way for the local community to connect with law enforcement.”
When the conversation turned to driving safely on snow and ice, the CHP’s new public information officer, Ubaldo Gonzalez, was asked what is considered a safe speed to be driving when on snow and ice. “Ten miles per hour is too fast to drive when the roads are icy. During our most recent snowstorm, eighty vehicles in the Arctic Circle, just west of Big Bear, got stuck in the snow,” Gonzalez said.
Noting that the Arctic Circle abd the Narrows are well known for rockslides and boulders blocking Highway 18 lanes during stormy weather, Gonzalez said CHP officers often help remove boulders and debris when Caltrans can’t arrive right away.
Sheriff’s Lt. Craig Harris, who was asked whether his agency gets involved with enforcing motor vehicle laws, said he encourages people to drive safely and tries to curb bad behavior. “Usually, we give the driver a warning; however, if there is a record of a previous offense, we can give them a ticket, or even arrest them and take them to jail where they will be given a drug test to determine whether they were driving under the influence. Typically, these are handled as a misdemeanor, and they’ll spend six to eight hours in a jail cell,” Harris said. He added that, if the driver is on probation for a previous offense, it can be handled as a felony.
The event which began at 8 a.m., wrapped up around 10 a.m. Most who attended agreed that it was a worthwhile experience and that they would do it again. Recognizing the value of Coffee with a Cop as a learning experience for the public and a chance to build camaraderie with the CHP, the sheriff’s department holds this event four or five times a year.
In recent years, the first Coffee with a Cop of the new year has been held in January or February at Snow Valley Mountain Resort.
Sheriff’s Capt. Don Lupear (L) mingled with deputies and local citizens at last Friday’s Coffee with a Cop. (Photos by Douglas W. Motley)
Incoming CHP Public Information Officer Ubaldo Gonzalez discussed safe winter driving practices.
Crestline resident Tess Hitt praised law enforcement for connecting with the public.