“We’d been having some issues with the Freedom kids, especially toward the end of the year, and the last days of school, and it was really frustrating,” said Shawna. “So during one of our homeowner’s meetings last year, we decided as a group to try working with the police department to get this situation curtailed.”
Brentwood Chief of Police Mark Evenson said he took the HOA’s comments seriously and vowed to beef up police presence in the community. But because Neroly Road (where Rose Garden is situated) divides Oakley from Brentwood, dealing with an Oakley school in Brentwood territory was tricky.
“Basically it is our jurisdiction, and so when this situation came to our attention, we began working with the Freedom High resource officer as well as the school staff,” said Evenson. “We wanted to make sure that everyone was organized and ready to go and we met with the community to let them know that we had it covered and that we were able to keep a lid on it.”
The lid was so tight, in fact, that for the first time in four years, said Shawna, graduation and end-of-the-year celebrations this year were non-issues for the Rose Garden community.
“When they (the police department) said they were going to work with the school and start policing the area more heavily, we were thinking to ourselves, ‘OK, we’ll see how long this lasts.’ But for the first time since we’ve lived here, there were no problems. The officers patrolled up and down the streets (especially on the last day of school) and were so courtesy and kind. I can’t tell you how comforting it was to have them there. We can’t thank them enough for taking such wonderful care of us.”
The pleasure, said Evenson, is all theirs. “It’s very nice of them (the homeowners) to say such nice things, but really we’re just doing our job. But I will say that the officers who were out there did a great job.
“Now that we have a handle on the situation, we will, of course, continue to be a strong presence out there and make sure we have an eye on things. But it’s nice that everyone is happy and that it’s all ‘kumbaya.’”
For Shawna, the success of the police presence in her community has given her more than a warm and fuzzy feeling; it has also reinforced her belief in teamwork. “I can’t tell you how much it has meant to the homeowners to be remembered and to have been taken seriously. The success of all this just tells you that teamwork definitely works; it really does.”