Community briefs

Police Chief Kevin Burke to retire on June 2

Healdsburg Police Chief Kevin Burke will retire on June 2 after a decade of police chief work with the city.

The city recently launched a recruitment process with recruiting firm Peckham & McKenney, Inc. in an effort to search for candidates.

Folks can view the job listing and description of the position here. Applicants are required to file their information with the recruiter by June 21.

“We’re still in the very early stages of soliciting applicants … It will take about six weeks, at which point we’ll start reviewing, with the help of the recruiter, the applicant pool and try to whittle that list down to a smaller group of finalists to go through panel interviews,” Healdsburg City Manager Jeff Kay told The Tribune last week.

One interview panel will consist of experts in the field, two members of the city of Healdsburg executive staff and police chiefs from other jurisdictions. An additional panel will be community focused with representatives from different groups.

According to Kay, someone won’t likely be in the role until a couple of months.

While the search is ongoing, Healdsburg Police Lt. Matt Jenkins will serve as the city’s interim police chief.

Jenkins has been with the city since 2002 and for the last eight years he’s served as Burke’s second-in-command.

Fitch Mountain Evacuation Drill

On June 5, from 8 to 11 a.m., there will be a full-scale evacuation drill on Fitch Mountain. The exercise is being organized by the city of Healdsburg, local COPE groups and the Sonoma County Department of Emergency Management.

The purpose of the drill is to familiarize residents with local, designated evacuation routes and safely practice an evacuation of those routes. During the exercise, the county’s SoCo Alert emergency alert system will also be tested to notify participating residents of the evacuation drill.

Residents in the Fitch Mountain area have been notified of the drill via mail and other communication channels.

According to a city manager update, the city will issue Nixle alerts on June 3 and 5 to alert the entire Healdsburg community that the orderly vehicular procession to the community center — which will serve as a temporary evacuation point — is just an exercise and not the real thing.

It’s important to note that there will be increased traffic and use of sirens on North Fitch Mountain Road and South Fitch Mountain Road during the exercise.

If you’re a Fitch Mountain resident and want to sign up to participate in the drill, visit: www.socoemergency.org/2021drill.

Saggio Hills affordable housing meeting

The Saggio Hills affordable housing team will hold a community meeting on June 5 from 10 a.m. to noon at Barbieri Brothers Park to discuss the vision and objectives for the 100-unit Saggio Hills affordable housing project adjacent to the Montage resort.

The meeting will be hosted by project developer Freebird Development Company.

Folks can learn about how to share input on the design and vision, ask questions and meet the development team.

The meeting location is at 324 Bridle Path.

For more information or questions, contact Healdsburg Housing Administrator Stephen Sotomayor at ssotomayor@cityofhealdsburg.org, or Robin Zimbler of Freebird Development Company at robin@freebirddev.com.

Work commences on Memorial Beach crosswalk

Construction has started on crosswalk improvements and a solar-powered, pedestrian-activated flashing beacon system on Healdsburg Avenue Healdsburg Veteran’s Memorial Beach.

The project will enhance the crosswalk between Amy’s Wicked Slush and the county beach and will also include new pedestrian signage and curbing to direct vehicle, bicycle, and pedestrian traffic.

The project is estimated to take two weeks. According to the city manager update, to minimize disruption to businesses and park/beachgoers, construction hours are scheduled from 6:30 to 11 a.m. Monday through Friday.

Police activity

A felon in possession of drugs and a loaded firearm was arrested on May 23 by Healdsburg Police following a security check on the south end of town. 

Around 3:30 a.m. Sunday Healdsburg grave-shift officers were conducting a security check and looking for a dark pickup truck that had been reported to be driving northbound in the southbound lanes of U.S. Highway 101.

Healdsburg Police Sgt. Van Vleck discovered a suspicious pickup truck pulled over on the shoulder of the road just south of the highway. According to a statement posted to the Healdsburg Police Department Facebook page, the vehicle was partially pulled over onto the right shoulder, but the left side of the vehicle was hanging out into the roadway partially blocking the road.

The sergeant contacted the individual, later identified as 23-year-old Casey Hamilton Brown, who appeared to be working on his car.

An assisting office arrived and during the investigation Sgt. Van Vleck observed a plastic baggie with suspected drugs in plain view, which led to the detention of Brown, who was later found to be a convicted felon on active felony probation.

During the detention, Brown was found to be carrying a loaded firearm on his person.

According to the police statement, “The loaded firearm and illegal drugs were confiscated and booked into evidence while Casey Brown was booked on multiple suspected felony charges that included: felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition, possession of controlled substance while armed and violation of his felony probation terms.”

In a separate incident, a stolen Toyota 4Runner was recovered by Healdsburg Police on May 18.

Officers first became aware of the suspicious vehicle on the 18th when they noticed it parked on Magnolia Drive in a posted “No parking” area. The vehicle had two suspicious occupants later identified as 38-year-old Randy Cox and 24-year-old Angelica Cox.

The vehicle’s front plate had been removed and the suspects attempted to walk away from the vehicle once a Healdsburg officer conducted a records check. According to Healdsburg Police, the records check revealed that the vehicle had been stolen from Santa Rosa two days prior.

Both subjects were placed under arrest on suspicion of Possession of Stolen Vehicle, which is a felony. The male suspect was also charged with violation of his felony probation terms.

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