Casino police

Sky River Casino's floor 

The Elk Grove police entered into an agreement with the Wilton Rancheria Gaming Authority to provide temporary and part-time services from uniformed officers working overtime at Elk Grove’s new Sky River Casino.

This agreement, which is an amendment to an already existing contract, was approved by the Elk Grove City Council during their Sept. 14 meeting.

Since the casino opened last month, uniformed Elk Grove police officers have been contracted to provide law enforcement duties at Wilton Rancheria’s Elk Grove casino near Highway 99 and Kammerer Road.

However, since the opening of the casino on Aug. 16, the request for extra-duty police services had been “significantly higher than anticipated,” notes a city staff report.

As a result, the amendment to the contract was proposed, and ultimately approved by the council.

This amendment was proposed due to the city staff’s anticipation that the Wilton Rancheria’s use of officers at the casino would exceed the compensation agreement of $50,000, that will be paid for by the Wilton Rancheria.

According to the staff report, Elk Grove police officers will provide law enforcement services at the casino on a regular basis during peak business hours for the next several months, and on an as-needed basis thereafter.

Through the amendment, the city will be reimbursed for the Wilton Rancheria’s use of the officers at the average overtime rate for this service, as well as for associated administrative and vehicle costs for this extra-duty program.

Elk Grove police spokesperson Jason Jimenez said that off-duty services are not unique to the Sky River Casino.

“For us, our off-duty program is available to any businesses,” he said. “And so, for example, we have a contract with the (Elk Grove) Auto Mall, and we have officers at random times – which we don’t necessarily broadcast to the public – that are patrolling the auto mall to try to prevent any issues there. So, this is no different than something like that.”

The program, which is available on an as-needed basis, is also utilized by the Camden Passage neighborhood, Jimenez noted.

“They hire an off-duty officer to patrol the community at random times throughout the week,” he said. “That’s another example of the extra-duty program.

“These are officers that are not on their normal shift. These are officers that are off-duty, but are operating at full capacity, full uniform, a marked patrol vehicle, providing security for whoever is paying for that service.”

Private organizations, entities or individuals desiring extra-duty service should submit their requests to the police chief, and they are expected to provide full compensation and benefits to the department for the use of this service.

Jimenez mentioned that through the amended contract with the Wilton Rancheria for their casino, as many as four officers will be providing overtime service hours at the casino.

He added that casino security, as opposed to actual police officers, does not have “police powers.”

“They don’t have the ability to arrest anybody, so in the end, that’s where we come into play,” he said. “And so, in the event that a crime takes place, whether it’s at that big box store or at the casino, ultimately, we are the agency that will be called and is expected to be responsible for handling the criminal investigation piece of whatever occurred, regardless of where it occurred.”

A Wilton Rancheria representative declined to comment for this story.