Chat With the Chief, Part 2: Marijuana and More

Editor's note: If you appreciate being able to read posts like this one, and want to ensure ANC's ability to provide more content like this, please click here to demonstrate your support and become a paid subscriber.


Last week I sat down with Redding Police Chief Peter Hansen to discuss the June flare-up in gang-related crimes. In last Tuesday’s Part 1, Hansen discussed gangs and the history of gangs in Redding.

The interview stretched into many other topics, however, and here’s a look at some of the other issues we discussed.


Fortunately, says Hansen, Redding hasn’t seen a big spike in crimes related to its marijuana collectives like has happened in other cites such as Denver and Los Angeles. There have been a couple of burglaries, and one collective had issues with adjacent businesses because it wasn’t acting as a “good neighbor.” Some zoning restrictions should have been put in place prior to the rise in collectives, but beyond that, it hasn’t been too bad working with the 19 dispensaries currently operating in Redding, Hansen said.

“We’ve had very few problems with them,” Hansen said. “It’s been about as good as we could have expected.”

That doesn’t mean Hansen isn’t concerned about the collectives and the potential for future crimes.

“What happens when Johnny Bad Guy comes in and says, ‘Here, buy from me,'” Hansen said. “The mom and pop collective refuses, trying to comply with the law, but the bad guys says, ‘OK, we’re going to burn your place down.’ That’s how organized crime works.”

In “Chat With the Chief Part 1,” Hansen discussed how important the Shasta County Marijuana Eradication Team’s efforts were in keeping public and private lands free from Mexican drug cartel growers. The Washington Post and other news agencies have reported that the Mexican drug cartels are being damaged by mom and pop growers coming into the marketplace, but Hansen doesn’t believe that full legalization is the answer.

There’s still the bulk of the country that’s a market for them, for one thing. The idea that the state economy will be saved by taxing marijuana sales is also unlikely, he added.

“There’s no system in place for registration and taxation,” he said.

He’s also concerned with the long-term effects of marijuana smoking that he doesn’t believe have been closely studied. Will the state be facing a massive class-action suit a few years down the line just like what has happened with the tobacco industry?

Red Light Cameras

Critics have argued that red-light cameras are a bad case of Big Brother creeping into society and a method of raising big dollars for law enforcement agencies (and the company the builds and maintains them). Critics also complain that the huge fines (in excess of $400) are very damaging to citizens during a recession.

While it’s true that the companies that manufacture and maintain the red-light cameras (in Redding it’s Redflex, an Arizona company with an Australian ownership group) have made significant profits, it’s not true that Redding is getting rich on them, Hansen said.

“We don’t do it to make money and we’ve never made money on this,” Hansen said. “We use sworn-in police officers. We have three officers that do this and it’s not (monitored) by someone in Tennessee or Arizona.”

Of 100 possible cases when the red-light cameras flash, the Redflex company throws out about 25 percent because of issues like not having a clear ID on the vehicle’s license plate. Of the 75 cases that Hansen’s officers review, they may issue citations to about 40 to 50 percent of the drivers.

Rolling right turns have been a big issue that has upset the public. Hansen said the cameras trigger at a certain speed and his reviewing officers can also be selective about turns.

“Our officers can use their discretion with it,” he said.

In terms of the amount of fines, Hansen said this: “People complain about the fines, but the bulk of that is court costs and we all voted for that. RPD does not set the fine or the court costs.

“(The cameras have) reduced traffic accidents by 25 percent in this town. That’s saved a lot of injures and accidents from occurring. I believe it’s as effective as placing an officer on the street corner.”


Chief Hansen checks a local news website that’s on his favorites list. Hey!

Recession related crimes

In 2009, surprisingly, crimes were actually down. However, that may be changing.

“It’s very unusual,” he said. “When the economy goes bad, typically crime goes up. In the second year of it, we’re starting to see crimes increasing and maybe that’s because people are getting desperate. We’ve seen an increase in violent crimes and maybe that’s an indicator that people are getting desperate and doing the wrong thing.”

Hansen is concerned that more and more people are not reporting crimes because they believe the police are too busy. RPD is currently working on an online reporting system for crimes, which Hansen hopes people will utilize.

Motorcycle shop owner’s possible ties to a gang

In late June, the Record Searchlight reported that the California Highway Patrol investigated a Redding motorcycle shop owner, alleging his business was front for an outlaw motorcycle gang.

Gary Kenerson, owner of Gary’s Motorcycle Services Center on California Street, has adamantly denied that he’s dealing in stolen parts and that he’s a Vagos motorcycle club member.

Still, the colors Kenerson flies in front of his shop are definitely associated with the Vagos club, Hansen said.

“Is he a (Vagos) gang member, probably not,” Hansen said. “Does he associate with them, absolutely.”

jim-dyar-125Jim Dyar is a news, arts and entertainment journalist for A News Cafe and the former arts and entertainment editor for the Record Searchlight’s D.A.T.E. section. Jim is also a songwriter and leader of the Jim Dyar Band. He lives in Redding. E-mail him at


is a journalist who focuses on arts, entertainment, music and the outdoors. He is a songwriter and leader of the Jim Dyar Band. He lives in Redding and can be reached at
Comment Policy: We welcome your comments, with some caveats: Please keep your comments positive and civilized. If your comment is critical, please make it constructive. If your comment is rude, we will delete it. If you are constantly negative or a general pest, troll, or hater, we will ban you from the site forever. The definition of terms is left solely up to us. Comments are disabled on articles older than 90 days. Thank you. Carry on.

10 Responses

  1. Avatar Virginia says:

    Good Job on the series. Thanks!

  2. Avatar pmarshall says:

    Thanks for the interview, Jim. I still don't know why all the collectives, and why the City has Okayed them . Yes, we are giving in to them, and, no, we shouldn't have them.

    • Avatar S_D_Merritt says:

      Count your blessings pmarshall that your health remains as well as it must be for you to offer up such a thoughtless and uncompassionate statement. The City didn't Okay them. The voters did in 96'. Yes, we should have them. They help many sick people. I'm sure someone with perfect health like you may not grasp the idea that they're people out there who are sick and this medicine has made their lives easier. I'm sure your Christian as well. Did you know cannabis is mentioned 11 times in the bible? A few times from the lips of god himself. GO READ MORE. Stop listening to all the reefer madness hysteria and go look for facts and think for yourself. I'll even get you started since i'm such a nice guy

      AMA asks marijuana be removed from schedule 1

      MJ not a gateway drug

      MJ effective pain reliever

      MJ and the bible

      Next time you attack a group of people's way of life maybe you should educate yourself first instead of sounding like a hate monger and the type of person who supports the vandalism of collectives and the Swastika's written on the wall. I suppose you goose step around this town in your jack boots so i have a solution for you. MOVE. Either North Korea, China or if you really want to fit in invent a time machine and go back to Germany 1930's. You should do great there ill even help you pack

    • Avatar Just Curious says:


      In your opinion, right?

  3. Avatar Joanne Lobeski Snyde says:

    Jim, your article gave me a greater respect for the Redding Chief of Police. Thank you for a great article.

  4. Avatar S_D_Merritt says:

    Chief Hanson is a honorable man. In all the times I've spoken with him he always spoke to me with respect. He may be misguided on his views on medical marijuana and we all have our opinions but you cant argue with facts

    Not to mention this nation was founded on Hemp. If people payed attention to History they would know that. Alot of people in this town instead sound like Phil Hartman playing Frankenstein but instead of "FIRE BAD" its "POT BAD" and thats all they know.Then you have Vice Mayor Mcarthur saying it damages lungs. Well actually it cuts Lung Tumor Cancer growth

    Your welcome for the education

  5. Avatar pmarshall says:

    The reply to my message was completely unfounded; nothing can be farther from the truth about me; I am not, and never have been a Nazi. The reason I don't like so many Marijuana collectives is that I feel it may bring more crime. Yes, people are in pain, and they should get marijuana if it is proven they are "legal". Whenever there are problems with drugs or alcohol, there is crime that goes along with it. Sure we have crime anyway, so let it go on and on. I am a Christian, yes; oh boy, that makes me an awful unthinking person. I will present this to my pastor. And, plese, I am a thining and compasionate person. Name-calling just shows ignorance!

  6. Avatar Charlie Nelson says:

    Man it is great to read an article buy a great writer thank's Jim.

  7. Avatar pmarshall says:

    Mr.r Ms., Merritt. Evidently I really hit a nerve. i'm always open to new ideas, believe it or not. Oh, Yes, I do have pain, sometimes a lot of it. I have a good friend who is desperate for some help; her doctors have not helped. I suggested she try Marijuana, which I think she will do. See, I am pretty well convinced that maybe, just maybe, it will help a lot of people. I probably won't try it, though. There are so many returning service men who are really in need; they must get all the help they can get. We owe it to them! I hate Nazi's!

  8. Avatar in the Spirit of Jus says:

    interesting, the only time Law Enforcement mentions Motorcycle CLUBS, is as gangs, and 9 times out of 10 it's about allegations. CHP investigated this guy, couldn't prove Club ties, tried to get court orders, and wind up with CPS (can't prove sh&t). But "Outlaw Motorcycle Gang" gets John Q. Public's purient interest up, sells papers, and gives paranoid citizens and Officer Sancho Panza a 'windmill' to tilt against. So the guy sports Green, so does Toyota and GM. Fuzzy logic would then dictate that anyone sporting Raiders garb is a felon / looter or vandal. C'mon, this guy should head to Hemet and join their Chief hiding under his desk.