Taking Back Our Community
City Joins Taking Back Our Community Coalition
In late 2017, the City Council unanimously voted to become a member of "Taking Back Our Community," a coalition of cities dedicated to educating the public and improving law enforcement's ability to address the unintended consequences and public safety threats occurring due to new legislation, including Assembly Bill 109, and Propositions 47 and 57.
The coalition publishes the "Taking Back Our Community" newsletter:
December 2017 - Issue 1 (PDF)
January 2018 - Issue 2
February 2018 - Issue 3 (PDF)
April 2018 - Issue 4 (PDF)
May 2018 - Issue 5 (PDF)
July 2018 - Issue 6 (PDF)
September 2018 - Issue 7 (PDF)
November 2018 - Issue 8 (PDF)
Voters Passed New Laws
With misleading names like the "Safe Cities and Schools Act" (Proposition 47) and the "Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act" (Proposition 57), many voters believed passing the new laws would decrease crime and increase safety in their communities. However, it is now apparent that these recent changes in law limit the Chino Hills Police Department's - and other cities' - ability to respond to crimes within the community. For example, prior to Proposition 57, multiple crimes against multiple victims would be treated as multiple criminal incidents. Those crimes are now treated the same as a single crime against a single victim for purposes of releasing a prisoner back into the community on parole. Repeat offenders are also eligible for release after the same period of incarceration as first-time offenders. Proposition 47 has reduced certain felonies like drug possession for personal use (including cocaine, heroin, fentanyl, and methamphetamines), theft of a firearm, and thefts under $950 to misdemeanors.
Consequences in Our Community
In November, the Chino Hills Police Department discovered an illegal marijuana cultivation operation with more than 500 plants. The entire house had been converted into a marijuana growing facility. The suspects were arrested, but their illegal activity is now considered a misdemeanor. The citation is equivalent to traffic violations such as driving with a suspended license or no license, or teens violating curfew. They were released the very next day. Before the new legislation took effect, the suspects would have been charged with a felony and all cultivation-related equipment in the house would have been seized. Fortunately, the City's building official was able to keep the grow operation from immediately resuming because of multiple building code violations. It is incomprehensible to think that the City's building inspectors had more tools to stop the marijuana grow operation than our law enforcement professionals, who are entrusted with protecting our community!
Proposition 57 increased the number of prisoners who now qualify for early release, back into our community, because their criminal offenses are now redefined from violent felonies to non-violent felonies for purposes of parole. Ironically, some of the redefined violent offenses include the term "violence" in the title of the crime. A few of the crimes that are now considered non-violent include:
- Domestic violence P.C. 273.5
- Assault with a deadly weapon on law enforcement P.C. 245 (c)
- Human trafficking of a minor P.C. 236.1(c)
- Rape of an unconscious person PC 261(a)(3)&(4)
- Solicitation to commit murder P.C. 653f (b)
Advocate for Change
Hiring more police will not solve the problem. The laws to keep criminals in jail or prison are no longer in place, and the only solution is to change the laws. In the coming months, the City will need your help to advocate for changes in the law to address these deficiencies. If you vote, educate yourself. Research ballot initiatives before voting. Only voters can make changes to the criminal justice system to ensure that violent and career criminals are kept off our streets. Encourage others to learn more about Taking Back Our Community by visiting this website page. Check back periodically to learn how you can help.