Pictured: Rincon Parkway, Ventura County. 

by Kimberly Rivers

Sheriff sends helicopter to help suicidal person

On June 1 at approximately 3 p.m., the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office deployed a helicopter to the vicinity over Shelf Road trail in Ojai in response to a suicidal woman the team was trying to “coax” out into the open in order to assist the person. 

The helicopter was circling somewhat low, and residents in the neighborhoods below could hear a loudspeaker announcement stating “This is a Ventura County Helicopter…please move down along the trail.” At about 3:30 p.m. the helicopter made one more circling of the area and then moved quickly toward the East End of the valley. 

Later a spokesperson with the VCSO reported the person was in fact a teen boy, was not suicidal and returned home safely. 

Evacuation alert alarm on Ventura Police cars

Ventura Police Department patrol vehicles are newly equipped with a “hi-lo” siren that will be used in the event residents are asked to evacuate due to an emergency causing an immediate threat to life.

The sound is noticeably different from the typical police siren, and is reminiscent of the European police siren, alternating between two different tones. To hear the new Hi-Lo Warning System, visit www.cityofventura.ca.gov/EvacuationOrders or watch the video on the city’s YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/cityofventura.

The public is reminded to ensure they are registered with www.vcalert.com to receive public safety warnings. 

Surfrider focusing on Rincon Parkway

Due to advocacy work by the Ventura County Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation, Ventura County is creating an improvement plan for the Rincon coastal area. 

The plan will include upgrades to the day use parking area, lidded trash bins and signage, and will include an educational “leave no trace” campaign. 

The program was supported by Ventura County Supervisor Matt LaVere (Dist. 1) and Ventura County Parks. 

Ventura’s styrofoam ban in effect on July 1

Last October the Ventura City Council voted unanimously to ban the use of styrofoam (expanded polystyrene, or EPS) by any food provider. The ordinance goes into effect on July 1, 2021. 

Any business that sells food or beverages for consumption is prohibited from using products made of styrofoam. Ordinance No. 2020-025 allows for a one-year exemption for businesses that will be overly burdened by the change. For questions about the ordinance and compliance assistance, call 805-652-4525 or email EPSban@cityofventura.ca.gov.

Ojai hires former police chief to consult on contract review

The city of Ojai is moving ahead with exploring alternative options to contracting with the Ventura County Sheriff for policing services within city limits. 

Ojai hired consulting firm Calseco LLC to assess the current contract with the sheriff’s office and recommend improvements. 

Scott Whitney, former chief of the Oxnard Police Department, is the principal consultant for Calseco. 

Thousand Oaks get life support squad

As of May 30 the city of Thousand Oaks has had an Advanced Life Support Squad vehicle providing critical patient care as needed. The squad includes two firefighters/paramedics and is part of the Ventura County Fire Department. The squad was approved by the Ventura County Board of Supervisors due to a reported increased demand through the 911 system. 

Westlake Village man facing federal drug charges

In May the United States Department of Justice reported that Bradley Shepley, 35 of Westlake Village, was indicted on federal charges related to an alleged conspiracy to distribute heroin to a 26-year-old resident of Oak Park, who then died of a heroin overdose on Nov. 6, 2017. This is one of 11 cases brought by federal authorities related to drug dealers being charged in relation to fatal overdoses

Shepley, who is being held without bail and has pleaded not guilty, was previously convicted of two felony narcotics charges. If convicted on this third charge, Shepley would face a mandatory minimum sentence of life in federal prison without parole. 

Trial in this matter is set for Nov. 2 in Los Angeles Superior Court. It is being investigated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency and the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Keith D. Ellison with the International Narcotics, Money Laundering and Racketeering section.