Is there anything you have ever wanted to know from the police department? Well, this is your chance to ask.
Patch has always strived to bring its readers all types of information and keep them updated on what is happening in their communities. It is with that in mind that we bring you our newest column, “Ask A Cop.” We will be teaming up with the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office and other local law enforcement agencies from around the county to answer your questions.
Whether you have a question about certain laws and how they might affect you, your family or friends or how to stay safe in certain situations, we want you to ask them. Every week we will run one question and answer. To submit a question, email Shannon.email@example.com.
After obtaining two restraining orders against my neighbor, I've called police at least five times to report violations of the orders. The response was not effective in stopping the harassment. I cannot afford to move away, and the situation keeps getting worse, yet I haven't gone to court for another restraining order since it seems nothing stops his victimization from happening. Police have refused to write reports after they respond hours after an occurrence. Why bother getting a restraining order, when no resolution is achieved by it?
Sheriff's deputy April Skalland explained that restraining orders are civil, meaning it's basically an order with the court.
"When it comes to restraining order violations, that has to be handled by the court," Skalland said. "We as police are there to keep the peace and ensure crimes don’t occur."
So if there's a violation occurring, especially something dangerous like threats or weapons, people should call 9-1-1 immediately.
“We go out. We try to keep the peace," Skalland said. "We understand people’s frustration because we get these calls often.”
If a new crime is committed, such as assault, the officer will intervene and make an arrest. If the situation is only a restraining order violation (example: you can't come within 100 feet of me) and if the officer is present, he or she could write a police report about the incident. Regardless, the victim needs to document the violations and take those back before a judge.
“Depending on what their restraining order says, they need to document it and bring it into court," Skalland said.
But, of course, continually going to court for the issue can be time-consuming and doesn't always bring the result people are seeking. Sheriff's deputies and other police in the county will help mediate some disputes if the parties involved are open to the idea.
“It makes it difficult when you have a restraining order against your neighbor," Skalland said. "It’s just breaking bread and trying to work with your neighbor."