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Galt Public Safety Committee hopes citizens will participate

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Posted: Tuesday, July 27, 2010 12:00 am | Updated: 8:31 am, Tue Jul 27, 2010.

Art Horton and Mike Singleton study a computer as Officer Chris Boothe shows them how cameras added to his police car can help spot stolen vehicles. The two residents received a look at the new technology as part of the Galt Public Safety Committee meeting on Monday.

The committee did not have a quorum because several of the Galt City Council-appointed members were on vacation. But the committee still received brief reports from the city staff present.

Since the six-person committee was reformed in early 2009, it has discussed crosswalks around the high school, a lack of streetlights in certain neighborhoods, graffiti and violence in the community. It meets every other month on the fourth Monday, so the next meeting will be Sept. 27.

Mayor Randy Shelton originally started the committee, but it was disbanded when he was voted out of office in 2006. One of his main priorities upon being re-elected was reforming the committee.

Yet public participation has been lower than in the past, said Armando Solis, special projects manager for the city of Galt who was on the previous committee.

Police Chief Loren Cattolico agreed and said the meetings have not been well-attended.

“A lot of people have other avenues. I think most people go to council directly,” he said.

Cattolico does not attend the meetings, but instead has Lt. Brian Vizzusi go as the police representative. Vizzusi started on June 1 and replaced Lt. Ken Erickson, who retired last December.

Vizzusi said the low public attendance could be attributed to a lack of pressing, big issues in the community.

“Sometimes low attendance from the community is a good thing,” he said.

When the committee existed before, Cattolico said the public could have needed more of an outlet to express concerns. Since then, the police have stepped up community policing, so Cattolico said people might have more contact with the department.

Vizzusi also said the department is fairly accessible through the Internet and phone.

“People don’t like meetings, especially at dinner time,” he said.

So far, the police department has not taken immediate action on any of the issues the committee has discussed, Cattolico said.

The committee has instructed residents on how to request decreased speed limits in areas with children, said Paul Cavanaugh, city engineer. It also has received neighborhood reports on graffiti and violence in the community.

Cavanaugh said it is a good way to get different departments from the city to gather and discuss public safety issues. Different departments often give reports, such as the police officers discussing its new license plate recognition software.

Since the six community members are council appointed, Cavanaugh said it is another link to the city’s elected members.

The committee is hoping to increase participation by posting its agendas on the city’s Web site.

Even though there has not been a lot of public participation, Singleton said it is important for residents to have another forum to discuss public safety.

“Anything we can do to keep our community safe,” he said.

Contact reporter Maggie Creamer at maggiec@lodinews.com or read her blog at www.lodinews.com/blogs/city_buzz.

Galt Public Safety Committee at a glance

What: The committee discusses public safety issues, like traffic, special events, pedestrian safety, gangs and street lighting.

When and where: It meets every other month on the fourth Monday, so the next meeting will be Sept. 27. The meetings are at 6 p.m. at the Galt Police Department, 455 Industrial Drive, Galt.

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