THE LACC GESTAPO - ILLEGAL SECURITY OPERATIONS AT LACC
Have you ever been followed by LACC Security? Pulled over and held against your will? Searched or beaten?
Threatened with a gun or other deadly force? Forced to pay a fine for a "Vehicle Code" Violation? Told that unless
you pay, LACC will report the incident to the Plumas County DA (or Sheriff)? Given an extra fine for "failing to cooperate" or being "disrespectful" to LACC Security? Forced to appear before a kangaroo court of members for a "trial" without any rules of evidence, ability to confront your accuser or right of appeal? Have you had security come onto your property without permission to "enforce LACC Rules"? Been questioned by LACC Security on the basis of an anonymous complaint by someone the Security Guard won't reveal? Forced to pay a fine for a guest or renter?
ALL OF THESE THINGS GO ON EVERY DAY AT LACC , AND ALL ARE ILLEGAL !!
The History: up till about 10 years ago, security at LACC was relatively casual. There were checkpoints at the gates
(something relatively new at the time), and you could call for assistance if there was a significant problem. But
LACC Security did not roam around looking for an excuse to write citations, or lie in wait with radar hoping to catch
a speeder. The number of personnel and vehicles was much less, and interactions were much less confrontational.
LACC Security did not dress like cops, act like cops or wear handguns. Nor was security such a huge budget item.
What Has Happened: at some point LACC decided that they were going to raise money with fines, and set about
to write a lot more rules and greatly step up "enforcement." The number of guards and guard vehicles ballooned.
Instead of a couple of cars, we now have 6, which have to be purchased, maintained and insured (at $30,000). Guard
salaries now constitute 15 % of our budget, and that does not include the corresponding part of 'Administration'
(30%) and 'Maintenance' (15%). The estimate to replace the security vehicles alone (as per 2007 Reserve Study)
exceeds $1,000,000. Guards started to behave much more like cops, and a lot less like employees. Or at least
superficially like cops. Actual police are trained to perform their duties without infringing the constitutional rights of
the public. LACC guards do what they feel like. They harass members and the public, rough them up, search vehicles,
enter private land, secretly tape and record members, kill pets and wild animals and impose curfews.
The Biggest Change: is arming the guards. All now wear handguns, something that has happened almost overnight,
in the last year or so. When a guard has a gun, the tendency is to use it, and they do. The Plumas County DA is now
considering what charges to bring against a guard who pulled a gun on an LACC couple on a routine traffic stop.
WHY DO WE NEED ARMED GUARDS??!! This is a question the LACC Board refuses to answer. As far as we can determine, there has NEVER been a case where it would have been necessary or appropriate for an LACC guard to use a handgun. Given the propensity of LACC guards to push people around and get into disputes, it is only a matter of time before one uses a gun and someone is seriously injured or killed. It could be you, your child, your guest
or a visitor. Or it could be some member of the public, entering to play golf or tennis and not realizing that the freedoms that apply in the rest of the country are suspended here.
WHAT IS YOUR LIABILITY? LACC could not get regular, state-approved insurance solely because of its insistence that guards be armed. LACC's comprehensive policy excludes guard activity altogether. To insure the guards, LACC had to turn to out-of-state insurers who are blacklisted by the California Dept. of Consumer Affairs. AND, LACC has to pay an additional $30,000 annually for this single-purpose extra insurance, whose carriers may or may not pay out if there is a claim. AND THEY MAY NOT HAVE TO: this coverage excludes personal injury caused by guards in any location where alcoholic beverages are sold or "may be consumed." Sounds a lot like the bar, clubhouse and recreation areas - just the locations where it is most likely there will be a guard-inflicted injury and a lawsuit against LACC. With no insurance, it will come out of LACC funds - which means ultimately out of our pockets.
DON'T TAKE OUR WORD FOR THIS (OR LACC's): GO TO THE OFFICE AND REVIEW THE INSURANCE POLICY
WHY IS THE LACC SECURITY OPERATION UNLAWFUL AND UNCONSTITUTIONAL ?
LACC SECURITY IS UNLAWFUL because private security guard operations are licensed and regulated by the
California Dept. of Consumer Affairs ("CDCA"). According to CDCA, the operator (LACC) must be licensed, and
each employee (guard) must also be licensed (have a "guard card"). LACC HAS NEVER BEEN LICENSED, AND
THE ACTIVITIES OF LACC GUARDS VIOLATE THE CONDITIONS OF THEIR LICENSES. Private security guards
are supposed to observe and report (ONLY), not intervene or make arrests. They are expressly prohibited from
detaining anyone, and the courts have specifically ruled that they may NOT enforce the CA Vehicle Code. Every
time a guard pulls you over, keeps you from freely moving on, or even intimidates you into believing you are not
free to leave, he is violating his license. Likewise a guard may not touch you or threaten you in any way.
LACC SECURITY IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL because LACC is acting like a town or municipality, providing a range
of services (including the police function) that would ordinarily be performed by local government. By doing so,
LACC is required to act within the usual constitutional limits. LACC cannot detain anyone without probable cause
they are committing, or about to commit, a crime, hold you against your will, demand that you answer their questions,
search your person, your house or your car, or cite you for being "disrepectful" to them (a direct violation of the First Amendment's guarantee of Free Speech). To the contrary, LACC Security routinely violates the Bill of Rights,
including the prohibition against unreasonable search and seizure, freedom of speach and due process of law.
FOR DOCUMENTATION OF THESE STATEMENTS, CLICK ON THE LINKS PROVIDED BELOW
WHAT CAN I DO ABOUT LACC SECURITY ?
- If you are personally involved, or witness, to an incident, report it to the Plumas County DA, who is already investigating the conduct of LACC Security. If you need help immediately, attempt to contact the Chester Sheriff's office.
- Use the 'EMAIL US' link below to tell us about the incident, and indicate whether you would like to add your name to a petition, join the lawsuit (see below), find a private attorney to represent you or simply discuss the situation. PLEASE TELL US IF IT IS OK TO POST A DESCRIPTION OF YOUR INCIDENT ON THIS WEBSITE. WE WON'T USE YOUR NAME WITHOUT FIRST GETTING YOUR PERMISSION.
- Tell the LACC office how you feel, and call up the directors. TELL THEM TO DISARM THE GUARDS NOW!
- File a Complaint with the Calfornia Department of Consumer Affairs (use Link 'TELL CDCA' below).
5. JOIN THE LAWSUIT. If the situation doesn't change, a civil case will be filed in Federal District Court seeking declaratory and injunctive relief to end these practices. It will also seek damages to redress individual cases. There will be no cost to you to participate, and if you have been injured, you may be awarded money damages. Let us know if you would be interested, and describe your case. THE COMPLAINT IS ALREADY WRITTEN.
HOW TO FIGHT A CITATION: you have the right to contest a citation and appear before the "Board of Control" (a committee handpicked by the LACC President). You may need to tell them in a relatively short period of time after the citation that you intend to contest it. You may be told that you can contest it by writing a letter, BUT DON'T BELIEVE IT. The letters seem to disappear, and members have been later told that they have to appear anyway. ASK TO SEE AND HEAR THE TAPES. LACC has spent a fortune on video and audio recording equipement, but these tapes never seem to be available when you ask to see them.
REMEMBER: YOU DON'T HAVE TO PAY A FINE. By California law, fines cannot be added to your annual assessment, and LACC has no power of foreclosure to collect them. They are treated like any other disputed debt with a vendor. Don't pay, and force LACC to take you to court. Then raise the facts stated above as a defense. And remember, if you are not a member, LACC has NO power to collect any fine from you.
VERY IMPORTANT: it is a LIE that LACC can refer your "traffic violation" to the Plumas County DA. He has specifically told them NOT to do this. If referred, the DA ignores them. [Click PLUMAS COUNTY DA LETTER below]
FOR MORE ON ILLEGAL SECURITY GUARD BEHAVIOR, click LAKE COUNTY DA OPINION below.