Coffee with a Cop

LITTLE DEPUTY — Lt. Joseph Fender visits with Elias Marley, 7, Thursday morning at Crazy Otto’s Diner during the monthly Coffee with a Cop event.

LANCASTER — Com­mu­nity members got a chance to meet and get to know their local deputies Thurs­day morning at the Lan­caster Sheriff’s Sta­tion’s Coffee with a Cop event at Crazy Otto’s Diner.

The monthly event is a way for residents to con­nect with deputies, learn about the department’s work in Lancaster neigh­bor­hoods, and ask ques­tions in a stress-free en­vi­ronment.

With hot cups of coffee and platefuls of breakfast on hand, deputies in­tro­duced themselves to the people who turned out for the event.

“You live in a very unique community where the majority of the deputies that work here live here,” Lancaster Sher­iff’s Lt. Joseph Fen­der.

Fender, a graduate of Quartz Hill High School, has worked in different sta­tions throughout Los Angeles County through­out his 19-year career. He said most of the deputies who work in the other stations do not live in the communities they serve.

“The overwhelming ma­jor­ity of deputies at (Lan­caster and Palm­dale) stations live here,” Fender said. “So take ad­van­tage of that be­cause these deputies here are not just the ones that pro­tect you and keep you safe enforcing laws; they’re your neighbors. They’re the ones you see at the mall, they’re the ones you run into at the movie theaters, and they really do appreciate your support.”

Second-grader Elias Mar­ley, seven, turned out for the event with his mother Jamie Marley and siblings. He wore a sher­iff’s six-point star on his shirt and a scanner on his belt.

“We came out here to support our law enforcement and also so he could meet a few deputies,” Marley said.

Elias agreed. He said he was excited to meet the deputies.

“I couldn’t sleep last night that’s how excited I was,” Elias said.

Deputy Yeni Deciga, who handles community re­la­tions for the Lancaster Sher­iff’s Station, provided an update on some of the new laws that went into ef­fect this year. For ex­am­ple, persons younger than 18 years old who are found not wearing a helmet on a bicycle, scooter, skate­board, or skates will re­ceive a “fix-it” ticket.

A citation is considered non-punitive and cor­rect­able if the minor has completed a bicycle safe­ty course and has a hel­met that meets safety stan­dards that is presented with­in 120 days to the is­su­ing law enforcement agen­cy, Deciga said.

Bicycle helmets are no longer required for riders of motorized scooters who are 18 years or older. Motorized scooters may operate with a Class IV bikeway as well as a Class II bikeway and on highways with speed limits up to 25 miles per hour. Local jurisdictions may pass ordinances to allow motorized scooters on highways with speed limits up to 35 miles per hour. It is still illegal to operate a motorized scooter on a sidewalk.

“I don’t know about you, but if I’m riding the scooter …  I’m going to be wearing a helmet,” Deciga said.

Another new law that De­ciga highlighted has to do with motorists with mul­tiple DUIs and first-time offenders involved in injury crashes. Those mo­tor­ists will be required to in­stall an ignition in­ter­lock device in their ve­hic­les. The amount of time the device will remain in the vehicle depends on the numbers of DUIs and wheth­er a first DUI results in an injury.

Deciga also highlighted changes in the law re­gard­ing criminal court cases. For example, an accomplice to a killing can no longer be charged with a felony murder. Children younger than 16 years old will no longer be tried in adult courts.  The minimum age at which children can be tried in court for a crime is 12 years old. Court would remain an option for children charged with violent crimes such as murder or rape.

The Patient’s Right to Know Act, which doesn’t go into effect until July 1, will mandate that physicians who are disciplined by their regulatory board for sexual mis­conduct with patients, drug abuse that can harm a patient, criminal con­vic­tion involving harm to patients, and in­ap­pro­priate prescribing re­sult­ing in patient harm and have been given probation must notify patients prior to their visit.

The monthly Coffee with a Cop events are important because it gives deputies a chance to interact one-on-one with the community in a comfortable setting, Deciga said.

“Just conversation, an­swer­ing their concerns and just simple questions,” Deciga said.

Lancaster Sheriff’s Sta­tion spokeswoman Ali Villalobos shared in­for­ma­tion about the new ShakeAlertLA app de­vel­oped by the city of Los An­geles in partnership with the U.S. Geological Sur­vey, AT&T, and the Annen­berg Foundation to alert residents of seismic ac­tiv­ity.  The app sends alerts to users within Los An­gel­es County that an earthquake of greater than magnitude 5.0 or level IV intensity has been detected and that they may soon feel shaking. The app is available for Android and Apple devices and available in both English and Spanish.

The Sheriff’s De­part­ment does not endorse or promote any apps, but Villalobos said they  wanted to share in­for­ma­tion with the public about the ShakeAlertLA app.

“It can give you any­where from two seconds to 10 seconds; the maximum time that it will give you is about 56 seconds,” Villalobos said.

The closer you are to the epicenter, the less time you will have, and the further away you are from the epicenter, the more time you will have as a warning.

“It does promote it for when you’re on the road where eight seconds or maybe three seconds gives you enough time to maybe not go into a tunnel, or maybe pull your car over,” Villalobos said.

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