Wednesday passed uneventfully here in the breadbasket of Contra Costa County – well, no, not really, but we wanted to see how it felt to write that optimistic lede after a busy day in “The Numbers.”
First, we were chastened to hear that Lt. Eric Christensen, titular chief over there in the wild lands of Lafayette, is leaving Lamorinda to corral crooks in Oakley at the end of this month.
We say good luck to him and that we shall miss our regular “Police Chief vs. Reporter” fencing sessions in which we attempted to draw as much information out of him as we could while he remained taciturn, straight-arming us with the kind of humor we have come to appreciate after far too many years covering police.
We’re sure Lafayette will be sad to see “The Chief” go. He did a lot to make the city safer and cared deeply about its residents. A send-off is, apparently, being planned.
City Manager Steve Falk wrote: “During his six years with Lafayette, Chief Christensen has employed a variety of techniques and technologies to solve and reduce crimes, prepare the community for emergencies, address bias, and empower people and their neighborhoods. He’s done it with intelligence, humor, an unrelenting work ethic, and a generosity of spirit that he has extended to everybody he encounters.”
Falk is working with Sheriff David Livingston’s office to “quickly deliver a new lieutenant to Lafayette to fill Eric’s very large shoes.”
In other police news, only in Walnut Creek and not Lafayette, we were amazed yet again by the number of people reacting to our Flash notifications of a pursuit down I680 and resultant crash and chase of a suspect in the area of 2616 N. Main last night.
This attracted a fair bit of attention, as you might imagine, as CHP and Walnut Creek police responded to intercept a man who fled from his disabled vehicle, losing his work vest on a fence he hurdled in his bid to escape before going to ground and attempting to hide. Our phone and email banks lit up as they usually do and Adam, head of our Flash Division (that sounds so good – it’s just him) pounded out updates about hovering helicopters and zooming police cars until his fingers cramped.
They eventually located the individual hiding in the area and took him into custody after a police dog introduced himself to the suspect. One thing we learned last night – there are a LOT of you folks reading those Flash Alerts! Thanks for the notes on their effectiveness, this morning.
We were also busy following at least one crew of burglars and random crews of shoplifters creating havoc in our area, the burglars kicking in the front doors of homes in San Ramon (in one case while the resident was sheltering inside) as police mobilized to head them off. We hate being redundant here at NEWS24/680 but we would council readers/neighbors to lock up their possession or, even better, not to leave them out for thieves to find them as we do seem to be making it very easy for the bad guys at present.
While we have you, the garrison at work here thank you all for helping us to cover this very large chunk of Contra Costa County by sending us tips and photos and even snacks from time to time (though that last bit is not a tease for even more snacks. No, really.)
Time spent in the NewsBiz will stamp certain maxims upon minds we aim to keep blank and objective – and one of those maxims is that news stories always seem to come in bundles of three. That was borne out yet again as we made our way around the 24/680 Wednesday, encountering old friends and new, and picking up bits of information about all types of things – some of it criminal in nature – and three potential news stories went up on our “To Cover” board.
So, we’re on it. All three and a half of us (Spencer is a part-timer many of you met when he was pressed into service on Election Night. He says “hi!”). We thank you for the time you spend with us. Let us know what’s happening in your part of The Numbers.