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Police Station Cuts Extra Hours
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Riverbank police have cut back the station's open hours to the usual 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.

Only eight customers in about a month and half came into the office after 5 p.m., during a trial run of longer office hours. With those low numbers he could not justify the expense of providing staff for the additional office hours, Chief Bill Pooley recently told city council members. The experiment at first kept the station open until 9 p.m. and then 7 p.m.

If the office is closed, residents can still call dispatch at 552-2468 to contact a deputy. The telephone outside the door goes directly to that number.

Meanwhile, the police are busy this time of year persuading residents not to drink and drive, reminding them to keep their vehicles locked at all times to avoid someone stealing then and not leave presents and valuables in plain sight within vehicles that encourages break-ins and burglary.

Campaigning against driving under the influence (DUI), local deputies held a checkpoint on Friday Nov. 13, arrested five people and towed 15 vehicles, said Traffic Officer Mike Glinskas.

The arrests included two local people for DUI (over .15); a third person on a DUI probation requiring zero alcohol but registering .06; a fourth on a DUI warrant and a fifth on a suspended license warrant.

This year the department has received $100,000 to bolster DUI enforcement and is holding 24 checkpoints between last Oct. 1 and Sept. 30 of 2010, Glinskas added.

Officers are also reminding motorists of the dangers of starting a vehicle and leaving it to warm up unlocked and unoccupied on these chilly winter mornings. That is an invitation to car thieves, who often wait around in the morning for just that situation, and can jump in and drive away in seconds.

"We've been campaigning against this for years," said Glinskas. "Deputy Vernon and I are driving around at 5:30 a.m. If we find a vehicle running with no occupant, we take the keys, find the owner and admonish him. They should be aware, by the time they run out of the house, it's too late, the thief's driving away. And having stolen the vehicle, he'll think nothing of running them down if they get in the way."

Glinskas recalled that years ago the local police department had two officers injured and forced to retire after they pursued a car thief in similar circumstances.

He also mentioned the carelessness of some residents who leave their garage doors wide open and valuable items like motorcycles and toolboxes besides vehicles exposed to thieves.

Not infrequently he and other officers find garage doors open late at night often with the owner gone to bed. In those cases, they will get the homeowner up to close the garage and secure possessions properly.

"They generally start off grumbling," Glinskas commented. "But they should be grateful."