By DOUGLAS W. MOTLEY
Coffee with a Cop visited uncharted territory on Sept 25 when a dozen or more local law enforcement officers and deputies showed up, for the first time ever, at The Villager Café in Blue Jay to meet and greet the public in a casual, non-threatening atmosphere.
At the event, local citizens can get better acquainted with one another and exchange information and ideas with the law enforcement community on how they might better assist the public in fighting crime.
This was the first Coffee with a Cop event since last June, when it was held at SkyPark at Santa’s Village. The event at The Villager attracted about a dozen local residents, eager to meet the men and women who keep our mountaintop communities safe. This event, in a sense, was a changing of the guard since the sheriff’s Twin Peaks station has recently undergone some changes in command personnel. Longtime station commander Capt. Don Lupear retired on Aug. 25 and was replaced by former Lieutenant Craig Harris, who now holds the rank of captain. The second in command position has been handed to former Sgt. Mauricio Hurtado, who is now the station’s lieutenant.
When asked what inspired him to become a member of the law enforcement community, Hurtado told the Alpine Mountaineer that he was inspired by his mother, an immigrant, who became a correctional officer with the sheriff’s department. “I joined the sheriff’s department in 2000 and have been working here for over 20 years, helping people. Nobody calls the police because they’re having a wonderful day; they call when they need help. I do this to help people and to keep them safe.”
When newly sworn Captain Harris was asked what types of crimes were trending, he said there has been a recent increase in reported vehicle thefts. “I’d like to remind people to keep their car doors locked and not to leave keys inside their car.”
Lake Arrowhead resident Lyle Blanchard said he had come to the event to find out why he’s not in the system that properly identifies the street he resides on. “I live on one of several access roads near the golf course. Now, after talking to them, they know my physical street address.”