Hemet Strikes Back

City Council gives emergency purchasing power

The Hemet City Council on Tuesday gave the city manager emergency purchasing power to outfit police with whatever they need to combat what they believe are attacks by criminals on their personnel, resources and equipment.

The emergency resolution enables the purchases without the need to go through a bidding process, which police officials said would take too long under the present circumstances.

On Monday, a fire damaged a mobile home used for police training. Police are looking into whether the blaze is connected to a series of life- threatening acts that started with someone rerouting a natural gas line into a gang task force building on New Year's Eve.

"Intelligence reports indicate that the police facility is the likely focus of future criminal acts," Hemet police Capt. Dave Brown wrote in a staff report to the City Council.

According to Brown, the resolution gives the city manager the power to order "any action required to harden city facilities in response to this emergency without giving notice for bids to let contracts."

  • In late March, four city code enforcement trucks were torched in the Hemet City Hall parking lot.
  • On March 5, a member of the Hemet/San Jacinto Gang Task Force found an explosive device attached to his unmarked patrol car when he pulled into a filling station in Hemet.
  • On Feb. 23, a member of the task force opened a gate at its headquarters and was nearly struck by a bullet discharged by a homemade "zip gun," rigged to fire when the gate moved.
  • On Dec. 31, someone rerouted a natural gas line into the task force's headquarters building, setting the stage for an explosion.

Police, however, have stopped short of blaming any one organization or even conceding that all the acts have been related.

"We will not speculate at this point until the investigators are able to complete their work," Brown said.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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