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Saturday, March 25, 2023

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Life on the Edge: Policing the borders of Citrus Heights


File photo, Multiple agencies respond to an incident in Citrus Heights. // M. Hazlip

By Mike Hazlip—
A shooting just outside the border of Citrus Heights at Fair Oaks Park last month led to separate investigations by different agencies, after a suspect ran across the street and into the city limits of Citrus Heights where he was subsequently shot.

One investigation was headed by the Citrus Heights Police Department and the other by the Sacramento Sheriff’s Department, due to jurisdictional boundaries involved in the case.

The jurisdictional aspect is not uncommon, as Citrus Heights borders on unincorporated areas of Sacramento County — such as Carmichael, Fair Oaks, Orangevale, Foothill Farms, North Highlands, and Antelope — which are under the Sacramento County Sheriff’s jurisdiction. The city also shares a border with the City of Roseville and Placer County to the north.

Due to the jurisdictional differences, Citrus Heights police routinely work with both Sacramento and Placer County sheriff’s deputies, as well as Roseville police.

As part of a series chronicling some of the people and places along the Citrus Heights border, The Sentinel interviewed Police Lt. Chad Morris for a look at how local law enforcement works with other agencies to handle calls for service that involve other jurisdictions.

“We are always in close communication with our neighboring partners, whether municipal police departments or the local sheriff’s departments,” Morris said in an email to The Sentinel. “As you can imagine, oftentimes, crime sprees traverse multiple jurisdictions. Therefore we regularly share information in order to increase our effectiveness and further enhance public safety.”

With all these jurisdictions, the dispatch center may receive information about several different incidents, Morris said.

“Our dispatch center is usually the first to receive information about an in-progress call in a neighboring jurisdiction,” Morris said. “Sometimes it is just information for our officers to be aware of, and other times we send resources to assist.”

Citrus Heights police also receive assistance from other agencies, Morris said.

Commenting on the April 18 shooting at Fair Oaks Park, Morris said Citrus Heights police have authority to operate in other jurisdictions, as do other neighboring agencies. In that incident, both local police and the sheriff’s department responded in a joint press conference at the scene.

Morris told The Sentinel in an interview after the shooting that suspects are often unaware they are crossing from one jurisdiction to another.

When an arrest is made, Morris said the suspect is typically booked by the arresting agency and investigators later follow up with the case. He added that the type of crime and charges can affect how police investigate an incident.

“Depending on the nature of the crime and multiple other factors, officers are within policy to pursue into other jurisdictions, such as Placer County,” Morris said. “We always focus on whether or not the seriousness of the crime and multiple other factors justify the need to pursue an offender.”

Jurisdictional complications are a reality of life with a landlocked city bordering other cities and counties, and both residents and law enforcement have learned to adapt to living on the edge.

In the northern fringes of the city, a resident living directly on the county line said he receives property tax bills from both Sacramento County and Placer County for different portions of his property. Another couple said delivery drivers have trouble finding their property.

In some cases, city officials have taken action to help resolve complications, including getting addresses changed from Sacramento to Citrus Heights. The city is currently looking at annexing a subdivision just outside the northwestern city limits near Roseville Road, where the postal address is Citrus Heights, but the homes reside just outside the city limits.

More information on the annexation effort will be included in a future story in The Sentinel’s “Life on the Edge” series.

See prior stories in this series:

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