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Keeping watch over businesses

Community: Program allows owners to better communicate with law enforcement

Posted: September 1, 2010 9:07 p.m.
Updated: September 2, 2010 4:55 a.m.

Ron Shaffer of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station addresses a group of business professionals at a city of Santa Clarita enterprise-zone workshop held at City Hall on Wednesday.

 

Santa Clarita Valley businesses have a unique opportunity to work with local law enforcement under the Sheriff’s Department Business Alliance program.

“The best way I can describe the service is it is the ‘Neighborhood Watch’ equivalent for the business community,” said Sgt. Ron Shaffer, the Sheriff’s Department liaison dedicated to the program.

The Business Alliance is designed to enhance networking communications between the local community of business organizations, the city and the Sheriff’s Department.

Launched in 2007, the business assistance program provides a multitude of services ranging from safe banking, security access monitoring, false-alarm reduction, emergency-key access, an online crime-prevention resource center, crime prevention training classes, auto dealer identity-theft prevention, vendor and solicitation enforcement and to emergency closure programs.

Funded by Santa Clarita and managed by the Sheriff’s Department, the program has been well received by the business community, Shaffer said.

“My interaction with the business community and city staff has been remarkable,” he said.

Shaffer routinely joins the city staff in meetings updating the city on concerns of local businesses as a means of keeping within the city’s goal of maintaining a business-friendly environment.

“It’s remarkable how supportive all members of the city staff are in helping businesses be successful in Santa Clarita,” Shaffer said.

An innovative service offered by the Business Alliance is security access monitoring.

The service is a partnership program with businesses that use a Web-based security monitoring system. The system allows the business owner to go online from any location in the world and view what is happening at the company property should an alarm go off or report of possible criminal activity occur.

The same company can sign up for the security access monitoring program with the Business Alliance unit, allowing deputies to access the Internet site and view the scene so that dispatchers can provide trained suspect identifications to the responding deputies.

The dispatcher can also advise responding deputies in the cases where there may be a crime in progress, use of weapons, or in the case of a silent alarm tripped by employees to alert local law enforcement.

In the latter scenario, employees most often cannot safely get on the phone to communicate with the Sheriff’s Department.

“This service adds value to businesses in our local community without adding any cost beyond the security system the company already has in place,” Shaffer said.

The Business Alliance program also works with the city’s Economic Development Department and the Business Enterprise Zone program to jointly establish a business registry for the first time in the city’s history.

The program works with businesses small and large, both independent and chain stores.

Shaffer monitors crime reports related to businesses and will often reach out to those businesses to address their concerns or needs.

“It’s all about risk management, crime prevention and putting a human face to the problem a business may face,” Shaffer said.

“Deputies don’t always have the luxury of time to discuss these issues with business owners as they’re responding to calls on patrol. That’s what our service provides. I can spend time with a business discussing their concerns.”

Shaffer can be reached at (661) 255-4990. Businesses can also submit questions or concerns to Shaffer by clicking on his name on the Business Alliance page via the website www.SCVSheriff.com.

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