Canyon Lake POA Board candidates discuss security issues

Canyon Lake Insider invited the six candidates running for the POA Board of Directors to answer a series of questions in the weeks leading up to the election. During this period, residents will have the opportunity to hear directly from the candidates and learn what they hope to accomplish if they are elected to serve on the board.

Three of the five seats are up for election. The six candidates are Jeanne O’Dell, Chris Papavero, Renee Griffiths, Jeff Bill, Alex Cook, and Joe Kamashian,

This week, the candidates were invited to answer the following question in 350 or fewer words: Security incidents have increased significantly lately from vandalism to stolen vehicles. What will you commit to doing to improve the security of our community?

The candidates appear in the order they are listed on the ballot.

Jeanne O’Dell

When I announced my candidacy for the 2023/2024 board of directors, I stated that it is my goal to conduct all business on behalf of the members by following several guiding principles. One of the is:

Safe Community: A safe community is a community where people can live, work, and play without fear or risk of violence or injury. It is a place that is safe and attractive to live and to visit. It is a place where community leaders come together to plan and create programs that reduce injury and violence and improve community health and well-being. 

The need to address the safety and security of our community has been a topic of concern for many years. It is clear that the business model that we have been using for the same number of years isn’t working. We have made minor tweaks in the community patrol contract, but significant change hasn’t been made. It is time to seriously look at our model. It is time to engage in conversations with other private gated communities that work in concert with the surrounding cities to find out how they obtain aid or share the responsibility for these services.

It has been said that the Property Owners Association should not take on an “assumed” responsibility as it would increase our liability. However, we need to ask, “Is there a greater risk if we do nothing?

The Security Advisory Committee was reactivated this past year. There are many experts on this committee who should make recommendations to the board for consideration this coming year.

The current contract for community patrol services will expire in 2024. The time to change the equation is now.

Chris Papavero

Security is extremely important to me. One of the deciding factors for Ginny and me in making the move to live in Canyon Lake was the fact that we are a gated, guarded community with actual gates.

This is not just a quick answer in my opinion and I would definitely want to seek advice from our Security Advisory Committee but here are my concerns and possible solutions:

We have an outside security company that is under contract to watch the gates and enforce our POA Rules and Regulations. I am looking forward to being able to review their contract.

The gates are a must, but how much money do we spend on the guards that drive the vehicles? We may be better off paying for a sheriff who can actually arrest instead of just observing and reporting as our guards do. We still need some guards to patrol, but how many are enough? I would like to see a report of their activities to track their successes and failures. This would help in my decision-making.

We have many live cameras that we have invested in, but is there someone watching the cameras? This should be done so that we have an immediate response to the damage being done to our amenities, to help reduce cost, and to catch the people in the act. We seem to have kids doing damage in the evening and even the wee hours of the morning. We should enforce the curfews per our POA Rules and Regulations. Kids should be at home, not wandering the streets.

How are people getting in and out of the gates? Are they being called in or are they sneaking in? Do we have top-of-the-line cameras at the gates? There are cars, trailers, and golf carts being stolen at night.

There is talk of adding gates at the exits that are only activated after a certain time at night. The idea is that you can activate and deactivate your RFID that you can control. When you deactivate your RFID, the exit gate will not open to let the thief steal your property.

Renee Griffiths

It is important to note that vandalism and stolen vehicles are crimes, not simply security incidents. Our tax dollars allow the city to contract with the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department for law enforcement. All crimes should be reported to RSO. If members do not report these crimes, then it will appear that our city does not have a problem. Please report all crimes.

This year, our board approved the formation of the Security Advisory Committee. They are tasked with providing guidance to the board on ways to improve safety in our community. I commit to continuing to listen to their ideas and recommendations to help improve safety.

Last year, our board requested additional Community Patrol officers at key parks and beaches during summer, and that helped deter bad behavior. As a board member, I will recommend that the POA does the same this year.

I will encourage the POA to continue to work with the city to find solutions that will improve safety. In January 2022, Tim and I asked the board to form an executive committee to meet with the city council to explore all options for a possible joint effort to help keep us safe. When Bill Van Vleet was elected, I gave him my position on the committee and meetings began in June 2022.

Now that Tim Cook’s position will be available, I would like to get back on the executive committee and meet with the city to explore all options and then report to the members any proposed solutions.

Finally, if you have any suggestions on how to improve safety, please email the board at [email protected]. You might also want to attend a Security Advisory Committee meeting and share your ideas with the committee. The next meeting is April, 25, at 5 p.m. at the POA office.

Jeff Bill

As a member of the POA Security Advisory Committee with a background in law enforcement, I’m committed to addressing crime issues in the community. My experience has given me insight into working on theft and safety issues happening in the community.

Most crimes committed in Canyon Lake are crimes of opportunity; however, I believe since December there have been seven vehicle thefts, three golf cart thefts, vehicle hit-and-run incidents, multiple physical altercations, vandalism, and break-ins.

The POA purchased a security camera and software system with advanced capabilities about two years ago but it has yet to be set up to its fullest potential. Motion detectors on the security system can alert the observer by highlighting active areas. According to those at Blue Bird Hall, the sensitivity needs to be adjusted, but it never was, so this function has been turned off. With 256 cameras to monitor, it is humanly impossible to monitor all of them simultaneously.

Community Patrol has been disrespected and not listened to. They have body and dash cameras, and failure to yield penalties caught on camera should be in place for those not cooperating whenever possible.

Community Patrol is not a law enforcement agency and only enforces POA Rules and Regulations. Driving around with the orange lights on is due to complaints of residents saying they don’t see the Community Patrol, so they didn’t feel they were doing their job. Unfortunately, the lights also alert vandals and other troublemakers that Community Patrol is coming, so they just hide until they pass. Do we address the problem or just satisfy complaints?

The Sheriff’s Department (RSO) allocates resources where needed the most. Crime reported to Community Patrol doesn’t go on record with RSO. When in doubt, call RSO so crime can be logged and plotted for resource allocation to have more deputies in the area.

Community policing has been mentioned, but it’s hit or miss in communities across the country. This needs a more in-depth explanation than space allows here.

This weekend, I’ll be outlining my security plan and posting it over the weekend.

Alex Cook

Time to stop pointing the finger at who is responsible, all of us are responsible in some way. We need RSO, Community Patrol, and the citizens to be proactive and work together to provide better security for the citizens. Currently, we are reactive, meaning all parties are only addressing the problems after they receive a call from a citizen about an issue.

Proactive Policing isn’t something new and we need to change how we move forward. Reactive policing, also known as traditional policing, is the standard style of law enforcement in which authorities respond to calls of service and react to criminal incidents. Proactive policing is the newer concept of policing that enlists the practice of preventing crimes before they happen. If you would like more details on this, Google “Proactive Policing”

What this means is simple, I want RSO and Community Patrol to get to know the citizens, not only when things are bad, but when things are good as well. Not only address the problems but we need to reward honorable deeds as well. Most of our issues are being done by people under 30 years old and current or past residents. These two entities need to get out of their cars and engage with the citizens, especially the youth of our community.

We also need the help from the citizens. We are a very conservative community that usually neighbors want to leave neighbors alone. But your eyes are important to help curb issues with security. Community involvement is crucial to see the problems before they happen.

To recap, it will take three entities to address security in our community: RSO, Community Patrol, and citizens. With a proactive approach, we can stop thefts and vandalism before they happen.

Joe Kamashian

Joe Kamashian did not submit an answer.

Editor’s note: The last day it is recommended for voters to mail their ballots is May 5. Voters may also drop off their ballots on May 11 between 8 and 9 a.m. at the lodge. The Annual Meeting of the Members and Election of Directors will be held on Thursday, May 11, at 8 a.m. in the Holiday Bay Room at the lodge. The meeting will be called to order and polls will close at approximately 9 a.m. If a quorum is not met on May 11, the alternate meeting date will be on Saturday, May 13. 

Last week, the candidates were asked what they believe is the greatest challenge(s) facing the POA at this time and how they will make a difference if elected. To view the candidates’ answers, click here.


Social Media

Explore More


Get The Latest Updates

Subscribe To Our Weekly Newsletter

No spam, notifications only about local news stories. 

On Key

Related Posts