New Redding Municipal Code allows city-wide “Quality of Life” enforcement sweep

REDDING — Although a controversial court decision out of Idaho last October forced Redding Police Department to temporarily suspend their enforcement of Redding Municipal Codes related to camping on public and private property, City of Redding officials worked on and developed a new camping ordinance which conforms to current case law. The new camping ordinance was approved by Redding’s City Council and went into effect Saturday, Feb. 16.

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Last year’s court case decision (Marin v. Boise) crippled Redding PD and forced police officers to suspend enforcing the City’s Municipal Codes related to public camping. The court’s decision “resulted in an immediate increase of camps throughout the city limits,” Redding Police Sgt. Danny Smetak later explained.

“Although we were unable to enforce the camping ordinance, officers still gathered the complaints filed by citizens online and responded to each location to help provide those individuals with resources such as Hill Country Clinic and the Good News Rescue Mission,” explained Smetak. “The Redding Police Department’s Community Cleanup Crews also continued to work diligently to try and keep the camps clean by removing thousands of pounds of excess trash and debris.”

Following last Saturday’s approval of Redding’s new public camping municipal codes, on Tuesday, Feb. 19, Redding PD partnered with Anderson Police Department, Shasta County District Attorney’s Office, and the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, in conducting “Quality of Life enforcement” all over town, according to Smetak.

Officers contacted countless individuals at Caldwell Park and other areas, informing them of the City’s new camping ordinance.

During yesterday’s “very successful” enforcement operation, officials focused their efforts “specifically in areas where we received the most complaints about illegal camps,” Smetak explained. “Officers spent the day proactively patrolling the areas of Downtown, Hilltop Drive, Parkview Riverfront Park, Caldwell Park, and the Sacramento River Trail.”

As the day-long city-wide sweep and enforcement operation was getting underway, officers fanned out throughout the city on foot, on bicycles, and in small teams, which were led and coordinated by Redding PD’s Neighborhood Police Unit.

The operation resulted in officers contacting over 130 people, issuing 37 Redding Municipal Code citations, making seven warrant arrests, and removing over 7,500 pounds of garbage, according to Smetak.

Video footage captured by one of the department’s new Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and later shared to social media showed one area both before and after this weekend’s cleanup and subsequent city-wide sweep. The before and after footage was taken from above a large encampment at Parkview Park and Smile Place and showed a stark difference between Feb. 12 and Feb. 19. (That UAV footage and a post about the cleanup that preceded yesterday’s sweep can be viewed below.)

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As word of the city-wide sweep spread on social media, countless area residents were quick to offer their thanks, support, and words of encouragement for Redding PD and the City’s renewed efforts to “help restore Redding to its beautiful self once again,” as Jonathan and Janelle Koza explained.

“Thank you RPD, APD and all involved,” the Koza’s wrote online after reading about the enforcement operation. “We appreciate your continued efforts to clean up our community and make it safer for families.”

Area resident Tawnya Husein-Higginbotham also thanked all those involved in the operation, explaining that although her children used to love visiting Caldwell Park’s bike track, she had since stopped taking them to the park.

“We couldn’t even use the bathrooms because there were multiple drug deals going on,” and due to all the “super sketchy people hanging out by the playground,” Husein-Higginbotham explained.

A Redding PD officer bandages a young bicyclist’s injured hand while patrolling Caldwell Park.

Although the majority of responses related to the operation were overwhelmingly positive, some felt the new municipal codes were just one more way for City officials to harass, target, and force homeless persons out of the city.

However, as Burney resident Todd Pemberton reasoned, “For those of you complaining….Would you want to bring any young children to a city park in Redding given the current status of just about all of them being overrun by tweakers and homeless?”

“It’s an absolute disgrace and a disgusting health and safety issue that these people have taken over the parks and other recreation areas,” Pemberton continued. “With human waste and needles all over the place, Redding is no longer a family city. It has become a cesspool, and I’m all for cleaning this human garbage out.”

At the conclusion of yesterday’s operation, Redding PD thanked the neighboring agencies and officials who assisted with the city-wide sweep. They also thanked the citizens of Redding, “who continue to use the online reporting system to notify us of illegal camps in their area.”

Redding PD officials have said the department will continue its ongoing efforts to clean up the city, its parks, and all public areas; while ensuring the department provides a safe and fun environment for all its residents – both young and old – to enjoy.

Click any image to open full-size gallery.

Redding Police Department photos


Contact the writer: trevor.rcns@gmail.com

Trevor Montgomery, 47, moved last year to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes for several other news organizations; including Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News, The Valley Chronicle, and Anza Valley Outlook; as well as Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County and Mountain Echo in Shasta County.

Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back, and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s accident.)

During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations; including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center, and Lake Elsinore Station; along with other locations.

Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team, and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.

Trevor has been married for more than 28 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 15 – but soon to be 16 – grandchildren.

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