Ever since the tragic death of Kim Pham two years ago this month, SanTana police have markedly upped their presence in the city’s downtown. Of course, that doesn’t mean that they’re actually fighting crime. When they’re not bothering to clean up the horse shit they leave on sidewalks, they’re parking one or two squad cars in front of the promenade on Broadway and Second Street and just stand there and talk to each other. One time, I overheard them talking about their first Dodgers game—you know, cracking down on the bad guys and shit.
The constant standing around and doing nothing has upset downtown boosters, who argue that a squad car parked in the area on an almost nightly basis does nothing except scare off people from visiting the area by making them think it’s crime-ridden. As someone who lives at Chapter One and C4 Deli, I can tell you downtown SanTana is safe—and I can also tell you that the police patrolling the area are lazy and incompetent.
Proof? Try this past Saturday night.
A pal and I went to the closing of the North Left and walked down Broadway toward C4 Deli when we heard a tussle behind us. In real time, we saw a guy outside the Subway on Third Street and Broadway yell at another guy, push him, then punch him. Then he punched him again, with the second sock knocking the other guy down to the ground.
My friend ran to the scene of the assault to break up the scuffle. I called SanTana PD dispatch…and was told I was being put on hold. Okay…I stayed on the line for a minute, hung up, and called dispatch again. Put on hold again. Fuckers!
Meanwhile, the victim had taken off, but the assailant was still around. At that point, I noticed the squad car parked in front of the promenade and started to wave at it. When I didn’t get a response, I crossed Broadway and ran to the car, only to find it turned on, lights on, but with no cop around. WTF?
Still on hold. One minute. I started looking around the promenade for a cop, any cop. Nothing. I tried to open the squad car, hoping I might trigger some alarm that would bring cops swarming to me. Nothing. I even started banging on the cop car doors—nothing. But, hey: now I can say I punched a cop car and lived.
Still on hold. Two minutes. Three minutes. Nothing.
Finally, I hung up, crossed Broadway, and called 911. At this point, the assailant was walking away, up Broadway. I gave the details to the emergency dispatcher, then saw my friend arguing with two SanTana officers just next to the squad car—one man, one woman, both Latinos. I crossed Broadway again to talk to them. The two were explaining to my friend that they can’t be everywhere at once, and had been patrolling the downtown area.
“The assailant is getting away!” I told the female cop.
“Where’s the victim?” she said, a huge ol’ smirk on her face.
“Um, the attacker is going up Broadway right now!” I repeated.
“We need a victim,” she repeated in her taunting voice—never mind both my friend and I had seen clear as day the guy clocking the other guy in the face.
At that point, I realized the boy and girl in blue weren’t motivated to do jack shit and told my friend to give it up. We crossed the street once more to get our Uber, where we told our story to the driver.
“Oh, I hate the Santa Ana PD in downtown,” the nice man told me. “If you stay in an area waiting for a passenger, they’ll give you a ticket!”
Now, the obligatory disclaimer: We at the Weekly know good men and women who work for the SanTana PD. But the ones in the downtown area are almost uniformly lazy and do no good. Imagine if something serious had actually happened? SanTana PD are lucky it didn’t.
And this wasn’t my first rodeo with these Keystone pendejos. A couple of years back, one of them threatened to arrest me after I tried to put in quarters into a meter that had expired on Third Street but that he hadn’t yet ticketed—CLASSY.
How incompetent are they? My pal—usually a law-and-order person—was flabbergasted by how shoddily we were treated, how annoyed the cops seemed when we interrupted their Saturday night stroll, and how lazy they ultimately were. At the end, they did get in their squad car and go to the scene of the crime—long after the victim and attacker had left.
“Fuck them,” said my friend as we drove past them one final time. “Fuck them.”
Postscript: Once my friend had calmed down, they told me something interesting: the “victim” was actually a guy who was trying to vandalize local businesses (there has been a rash of broken windows in downtown in the past couple of weeks), and that the “attacker” was the guy who stopped the vandalizer. So SanTana PD basically let a guy who fucks up local businesses walk away. Maybe they were too busy thinking of another excuse for their pot-eating colleagues to give a damn about actual crime? Roll the tape!