Citizens Patrol’s Macias, McInerney are Public Safety Officers of the Month
By Peggy Kelly
Santa Paula News
Published: January 23, 2013
A dynamic duo of volunteers who show their devotion to public safety by being stalwart members of Citizens Patrol were honored at the January Good Morning Santa Paula! Public Safety Officers of the Month Richard Macias and Pat McInerney received their commendation at Chamber of Commerce breakfast meeting held at Garman’s Pub.
Interim Police Chief Ishmael Cordero, Senior Sergeant Jimmy Fogata and Senior Officer Allen Macias - Richard Macias’ son - helped to laud Macias and McInerney, who volunteer their time that helps shoulder the burdens of the understaffed Santa Paula Police Department.
“I’m very honored to present this award,” said Cordero. “Back in May we were having a problem with the street sweeper” that could not fully serve its routes due to illegally parked vehicles. Cordero said the two Citizens Patrol volunteers were assigned parking enforcement, and “Since then we’re probably averaging $300 a month” in ticket fine revenues.
“It adds up to quite a bit of money” that, Cordero said, is paid either directly to the city or as a lien on renewing driver’s licenses. “Either way,” he noted, “the city gets their money... and it adds up each month!”
But the two work many other assignments aside from parking enforcement: “They come in day in, day out,” and the duo’s devotion to duty, said Cordero, is noted by all. “Richard and Pat are volunteers, they don’t get paid and all the work they do for the police department has earned them nicknames like the Ace Team.” Cordero thanked the volunteers as well as the Citizens Patrol Supervisor Fogata.
When it comes to parking enforcement, Fogata said, Macias and McInerney have become “Santa Paula’s most wanted... they’ve been causing havoc, sometimes writing 60 to 80 ticks a day, collecting up to $400 a month” in fines. Such efforts, he added, have also resulted in a decrease in illegal parking, as the pair has also targeted vehicle abatement, tagging those vehicles that no longer run or are abandoned and then following up with the paperwork to get the vehicles hauled off city streets. Fogata said the program improves “the quality of life” by removing blight.
As members of Citizens Patrol, Macias and McInerney also “help patrol officers do traffic control, help officers do the paperwork to tow vehicles,” and offer other help that “puts our officers back on the street a lot faster.... They’re volunteers and don’t just issue tickets, but help at parades, festivals, school functions.”
Fogata said Macias and McInerney are graduates of the SPPD’s Citizens Academy and certified for various public safety duties. Said Fogata, “These two have been a real asset to our department and I’m really proud of them getting their award... they really deserve it.”
Although proud of his father, “At the police station,” Sr. Officer Macias joked, “I’m the boss!”
“I enjoy doing what I’m doing,” and the senior Macias noted his other son Austin, is a Santa Paula Fire Engineer, so “I know we’re in good hands... Santa Paulans are well protected.” He thanked the SPPD and community and noted, “I want to thank Connie and Dick Tushla for all their support through the years.”
McInerney said when he started with Citizens Patrol it was still considered “kind of a novelty,” and over the years the duties of those involved evolved and grew, especially in recent years. Now the unit has garnered recognition for their efforts in assisting law enforcement and community involvement, “But the recognition came as the tickets climbed... but there’s good news and bad news. The good news is we requested double pay,” and the bad news, joked McInerney, is that the volunteers’ bid was rejected.
Other bad news, joked Sr. Officer Allen Macias, is that “Half the time people are complaining to the SPPD about Macias; I’m not the one... it’s him!” Kidding aside, Sr. Officer Macias said when it comes to the duties Richard Macias and McInerney undertake to benefit the SPPD and the community, “They do a great job.”
GMSP Moderator Ben Schuck thanked the volunteers for their efforts that not only has generated City Hall revenue, but also brought about compliance with the law that “makes our city a better place.”