April 12, 2009
STOCKTON – A retired truck driver and Vietnam War veteran said Monday that he is forming an armed militia – mostly men with rifles and armbands, four to a car – to patrol Stockton this summer, when at least 43 police officers are to be laid off.
[efoods]Alan Pettet, 66, said he has recruited 18 men, most of whom are ex-military. He said the militia will train at a firing range and “activate” if the city lays off any officer, as it intends by July 1.
The likelihood of an armed militia materializing is uncertain – there are legal concerns, and posturing to influence City Hall is not uncommon – but for a neighborhood activist even to advance such a proposal was indicative of frustration about Stockton’s awful budget forecast. The City Council is expected by July 1, the start of fiscal 2009-10, to order police layoffs and spending reductions citywide to balance a general fund budget that is otherwise expected to be $31million in deficit by June 2010.
Pettet, a midtown neighborhood activist who has a Desert Eagle pistol, said militiamen will detain suspected criminals and call police to arrest them. They will wear armbands and will patrol in a car marked by a magnetic sign, he said.