Last May we blogged about how Chief Mills was adopting third world policing concepts for Eureka – (protect the well to do, leaving the rest of us to fend for ourselves)
Here we are a year later and Mills is upping the ante with what can only be called his “Pay for Protection“ policy
Following the long standing tradition of countries like Singapore and Malaysia, the City of Eureka has recently rented its police force to a large national company. Rouse Properties, whose headquarters are in New York, recently paid for the Eureka Police Department to patrol the Bayshore Mall. Thanks to Thaddeus Greenson and the North Coast Journal for breaking this story. From the article:
“For the last month, the Eureka Police Department has been under contract to provide daily foot patrols at the Bayshore Mall.
The written agreement between the city and the mall has been in place since March 17, with an EPD officer walking the mall in four- to five-hour shifts, seven days a week, with the city charging the mall $50 an hour for the service…..
With Eureka’s first private contract for police patrols winding down, both Sparks and Mills said there have been no talks of renewing or extending the Bayshore Mall agreement. But could arrangements to hire out Eureka police for other patrols be on the horizon? What if Old Town businesses wanted to throw some money at some added foot patrols? What if Henderson Center merchants wanted to do the same?……
The question also arises whether the city and the department would be willing to provide the same offer to residential areas. For example, what if a neighborhood watch group saw an issue that might be addressed by a short period of extra patrols and raised the funds to foot the bill? The idea seemed to make Mills a bit uncomfortable.
“I really hadn’t thought that far down the road,” he said. “I want to be careful that we’re not, you know, providing special police services for those with the finances to pay. I think it’s important for us to police equally in all parts of the city. This was a special circumstance because of a couple of acts of violence that we needed to settle down.”
Ahhh, so Chief Mills has apparently backtracked and feels that it wouldn’t be fair to offer special police protection to those who could pay big bucks for it. Unless, of course, you’re a billion dollar real estate company. Well, Chief Mills is just following a long standing tradition in the area. Not too many years ago, when lumber was king, the Eureka Police Department acted as strike breakers for big lumber. In fact, on June 21, 1935 the Eureka Police Department and private guards (called “special police”) from the Holmes-Eureka Mill fired into a crowd of strikers. At least 3 people were killed and several others were injured.
The Holmes-Eureka Mill was situated on what is now the Bayshore Mall. So, less than 100 years later, the Eureka Police is once again working as the muscle for a private company. We guess that goes to the old saying, “The more things change the more they stay the same…..In Eureka anyway”