Private security answer to fewer sheriff patrols?

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Meeting Monday to discuss use of private firm

Following a discussion at the latest Mountain Community Patrol meeting, a group of local residents are contracting with Valley Forge Private Security of Hemet to patrol the Idyllwild business area at night. VFPS offers “para-policing protection,” according to its website.

The recent spate of business break-ins, such as at Fairway Market and the American Legion, have raised concerns among local residents.

Reductions in the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department budget have limited the availability of deputies to patrol the mountain area regularly.

“What can be done to get less crime?” asked one of the organizers, who wished to remain anonymous. “We can’t depend on the sheriff and we can’t help it there’s not enough money. So, why don’t we get a security guard?”

The idea of a regular security firm patrolling town was mentioned at the latest MCP meeting, according to many in attendance.

One of the organizers stressed that the firm is licensed and insured, with well-trained staff.

Sheriff’s Department members attending did not oppose the idea, according to two of the attendees. They believe that Sheriff’s Department has blessed the idea.

However, Hemet Station Capt. Leonard Purvis said he could not endorse the action, but “appreciate the extra help. I really like Idyllwild and care for the community,” he said.

  Purvis also repeated that MCP members are vetted by the Sheriff’s Department but some security firms don’t vet their staff well.

The patrols may start this week. And the organizers will visit with local business people to see if they are willing to share the costs, said another organizer who wished to remain anonymous. “It’s for everybody’s safety.”

A meeting about the local security has been scheduled for 6:45 p.m. Monday, Sept. 25, at Town Hall. Dan Hinojosa, head of Valley Forge Security, and Purvis will be at the meeting.

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