Director’s cut
In an effort to clamp down on one of the most pervasive and costly crimes they pursue, Butte County sheriff’s deputies will soon begin videotaping every domestic-violence call they go on.

Sheriff’s Spokeswoman Cheryl Broom said that filming the scenes that deputies see when they respond to such calls will make it harder for perpetrators to refute claims against them and easier for juries to convict.

“We get domestic-violence calls all day long,” she said. “One of the biggest problem law enforcement faces is that the victim will often recant. Sometimes the victim will even bail a suspect out of jail.”

Broom said deputies were called out 442 times in 2001 to investigate possible domestic-violence cases. In many cases, deputies are called to the same address again and again, only to have the victim refuse to cooperate with investigators.

“We want to send domestic-violence suspects to jail,” Broom said. “We also hope this will save the county’s budget [because] defense lawyers will see these tapes and may decide not to take the case to trial.”

The new effort is made possible with the purchase of eight high-definition video cameras, bought at $1,400 each with the leftovers of a $500,000 state grant.

That ain’t love, buddy
Chico police may have averted a tragedy Friday when they arrested a man who was hiding in the kitchen of his ex-girlfriend’s apartment, clutching a handgun he is thought to have stolen that same morning.

According to police, Brian Leierer, 26, had been sought since early Friday morning in connection with a stabbing that occurred at an apartment on Sacramento Avenue. Police were told at the scene that Leierer had been attempting to reconcile with his estranged girlfriend. When she rejected him, witnesses said, he became angry, smashing up the apartment and fighting with several people who were trying to restrain him. In the melee, a man was stabbed in the hand while trying to disarm the suspect.

When police were called at about noon Friday to a residence on Emigrant Way to investigate reports of a stolen handgun, they were told by the owner of the gun that Leierer had been there earlier and may have taken the weapon.

Police notified Leierer’s ex, who fled her Nord Avenue apartment for a safer locale. They then received permission to search the apartment, and at about 3:30 p.m. entered to find Leierer waiting in the unlit kitchen with the stolen handgun. A note from Leierer to his ex-girlfriend was found on the kitchen table, but police did not divulge what it said.

Leierer was arrested on charges of stalking, assault with a deadly weapon, grand theft of a handgun and possession of stolen property.

Just leaf it to us, city says
If you’re like us, you can’t help noticing that those omnipresent piles of leaves along the streets of Chico are getting higher and higher. You might be wondering where the city’s leaf picker-uppers are.

Well, they’re out there working as hard as they can, said Pat Ebright, of the city’s Municipal Services Department. It’s just that the week or two leading up to Thanksgiving are the peak of the leaf dropping season, she explained.

Earlier in the fall, when leaf piles were still small, the pick-up crews could blow through town twice a week. Now it takes a full two weeks to make one pass.

Part of the problem is that one of the city’s three leaf claws, the machines that scoop up the leaves, is broken, Ebright said. So there’s a 33 percent drop in efficiency right there. Combine that with the peak of the falling season, and the result is big piles of leaves.

Be patient, she advises. The leaves will be picked up soon—unless, we might note, a big wind comes up and blows them all away before the leaf claw arrives.