LODI (CBS13) – Vandalism and other problems at parks are forcing Lodi to hire a part-time officer to patrol them.

The police officer will focus mainly on the sprawling Lodi Lake Park.

“It will give me a peace of mind,” said Ryan Owen.

Owen allows his 10-year-old son to fish with friends after school.

“Also, keep vandalism down and keep the bad guys out,” he said.

The city plans on hiring a part time police officer to do exactly that.

“My biggest priority is to make sure people who visit Lodi parks feel safe and welcome,” Director of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Jeff Hood said.

A vandalism spree last summer proved to be costly. Arson at the park cost the city thousands in repair, and metal thieves destroyed light fixtures near a picnic area. The out-of-control vandalism totaled about $50,000 in damage, leaving the city to pick and choose which repairs it can afford to make.

“Vandalism costs have been really high in the past year,” said Hood. “This is a small price compared to what we’ve incurred in vandalism related damage.”

It will cost about $40,000 a year for the park patrol.

“We have people here most of the time who work for the city parks, so I don’t think its necessary here,” resident Becky Dolstra said.

In addition to patrolling parks, the officer will watch over the city’s new water treatment plant.

Residents can expect to see park patrols as earlier as this spring.


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