Blue Lake council to talk sheriff's office contract Tuesday; string of break-ins reported in city

The Blue Lake City Council will hold an emergency meeting on Tuesday to discuss the city's contract with the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office.

"The sheriff has been attending to a lot of the changes that we've been asking," Mayor Sherman Schapiro said. "There's just one change relative to coverage out here from the previous contract that looks like it won't go through in this contract."

In the last contract, when a deputy assigned to Blue Lake was on vacation, another deputy would fill in.

"We were hoping it would be included again, but it might not happen," Schapiro said.

In a statement, the sheriff's office said it presented the council with a contract that included actual service costs about two weeks ago, and is still waiting to hear back.

In the meantime, deputies are still responding to calls for service in the city.

"We're continuing to provide routine patrols, but we just don't have a physical presence there right now," Sheriff Mike Downey said.

The current contract expired in July, and was extended three months through September. While ironing out the details of a new contract, the sheriff's office continued to provide coverage until Jan. 1.

Blue Lake disbanded its police department after its former chief was arrested in 2008.

As negotiations continue, the city has experienced a recent string of burglaries and break-ins.

On New Year's Day, a thief broke into Blue Lake Elementary School and stole $400 and a media projector.

"We have since installed an alarm system, unfortunately," Superintendent Paula Wyant said. "Fortunate for the next time, but unfortunate that it's necessary."

The Blue Lake Post Office was broken into Jan. 4 and Mad River Brewing Company also recently had a burglary.

Lt. Steve Knight said he is not aware of a correlation between the burglaries and the negotiations.

"Yes, there's been some break-ins in Blue Lake, but there have been break-ins throughout the county," Knight said. "We're not seeing a rash. There are times where maybe one area will have two or three in a short period of time, but that's not uncommon throughout the county.

"In smaller communities, they tend to feel the effects a lot more because they're not used to having cars broken into and residences burglarized," he added.

Schapiro said he is not sure if the activity is unusual or just coincidental.

"There's always opportunism going on, and people looking for something," he said.

Once the contract is approved between the two entities, it will be sent to the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors to be ratified.

If you go:

What: Blue Lake City Council meeting

Where: Blue Lake Community Center, Skinner Store, 111 Greenwood Ave.

When: 6 p.m. Tuesday

Lorna Rodriguez can be reached at 441-0506 or Follow her on Twitter @LornaARodriguez.