I am a retired chief of police of Atascadero State Hospital. Recently, The Tribune has published two editorials regarding the arming of state hospital police officers: a reprint from The Sacramento Bee, and most recently columnist Lon Allen from The Tribune.
Each of the authors stated that dangerous prisoners from the Department of Corrections at Atascadero State Hospital are transported by armed CDCR officers. This statement is false. All patients at ASH are transported by hospital police officers. There is no contract with CDCR for transportation services. However, patients at Patton and Coalinga State Hospitals are transported by CDCR personnel.
Officers at ASH and the other state hospitals are full-time peace officers. In the past five years, there have been multiple situations where officers came into contact with armed individuals or found loaded firearms in vehicles on hospital property.
These officers enforce traffic and criminal laws, serve warrants, and make arrests in addition to their custodial duties. They deserve to have the proper safety equipment to protect themselves and the general public. There is not, nor has there ever been, a proposal to arm officers working inside of the security compounds. Only officers working external patrol, transportation and outside custodial positions would be armed.
A college decline?
Recent news reports describe how more college courses can be taken online. They predict that within 10 years, entire college degrees will be available at home, through online study.
If college costs continue to accelerate, this could happen sooner. Who would send their child away to college at a cost of $50,000 per year, plus room and board, if the same degree could be obtained by the student from home?
If this happens, colleges like Cal Poly will not die, but they will surely wither badly. What then will happen to college towns like San Luis Obispo, with their downtowns full of bars and restaurants dependent on the student crowd?
Will tourism and the prison be enough to keep San Luis Obispo vibrant?
These are questions our city leaders should be thinking about and planning for. Hope they are up to the task.
James M. Duenow
San Luis Obispo
Re: “Respect our nation,” letters, May 20: My parents left Nazi Germany in the 1930s, where displays of patriotic ardor and loyalty were enforced. In the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave, I don’t think it is necessary or appropriate to require affirmations of one’s love of country at every public event.
Lee tops 300 wins
Cal Poly swept the three-game series with UCSB with an exciting come-from-behind win of 9-8 after trailing 7-1. Noteworthy was the special award presented to Coach Larry Lee by Cal Poly President Jeffrey Armstrong, for becoming a coach with more than 300 wins.