The Citrus Height City Council last month approved an agreement between the police department and the largest business district in the city to provide a full-time police officer dedicated to problem solving and crime prevention in the commercial district.
The Sunrise MarketPlace business improvement district (SMP), which is made up of 400-plus businesses in the Greenback-Sunrise commercial corridor, has agreed to pay the officer’s full salary and benefits in exchange for the dedicated patrol services. The annual cost to be paid is approximately $177,000.
Officer Jeff Schouten was selected to fill the role and took the position on May 12. Schouten has been with the Citrus Heights Police Department since its formation in 2006 and is a familiar face to businesses in the area, as he previously served as a dedicated officer assigned to Sunrise Mall.
A key role for Schouten is that of a Problem Oriented Policing or“POP” officer. The Citrus Heights POP unit includes code enforcement officers and functions more proactively to reduce crime and other nuisance issues.
“Problem Oriented Policing officers work with the community, work with businesses, to tackle more longer term issues and concerns,” POP Sergeant James Evans told The Sentinel in an interview on Thursday. “A POP officer has time because he’s not responding to emergency calls 24/7.”
Evans said having a sworn officer dedicated to the marketplace brings additional resources to investigate crimes in the area. He said officers will normally spend most of their time responding to 911 calls, but an officer dedicated to the marketplace has more time to follow up on crimes, identify trends and be more proactive.
Schouten, the new patrol officer for SMP, emphasized the importance of networking with private security and business owners to identify suspects, highlighting his role in making a recent.
“The business was able to call me right away on my personal phone,” Schouten said. “I was there within minutes and I was able to catch the suspect.”
Schouten identified theft rings as an ongoing problem in the greater Sacramento area, saying such crime crimes take “millions and millions of dollars away from businesses around the country.”
This excerpt was taken with permission from the Citrus Heights Sentinal – May 24