Kern County, there’s a problem we must confront, and we have to face it together. It is crime in general and homicide in particular, and it is happening way too much, especially in our rural communities. So state Sen. Melissa Hurtado, who represents many of the same rural communities that I represent, and I are partnering to build a team, a task force if you will, and we vow to do our part to put an end to this scourge.

On Feb. 20, we are inviting you to join us at the Bear Mountain Recreation Complex, at 10300 San Diego St., in Lamont from 3 to 5 p.m. to discuss this important matter. We will have folks from Kern County Behavioral Health and staff from the Probation Department. We will join hands with Bear Mountain Rec and Parks, and we will have Arvin officials present as well.

As your Kern County supervisor, I stand strong for public safety and want to do all I can to ensure your safety. I am willing to bring all the resources of Kern County and Sen. Hurtado can bring all of the resources of the state of California to bear in this room but it will all be for naught, unless you choose to join us. We will follow up with this initial meeting with similar meetings throughout District 4, to include McFarland, Shafter and Wasco.

Crime flourishes where people are afraid to fight crime. Crime flourishes when good people don’t think they can come out of the shadows to report something they saw. Crime flourishes when we don’t work together. And when crime happens in our communities, we all become the victims.

It is a horrible cycle that can be prevented. Sen. Hurtado and I are aware that many may have their reasons for not coming out of the shadows, and we want to work to protect you so that you can have a say in the safety of the neighborhood where you live.

We will bring in some counselors and some probation officials who can listen to you, understand your experience and help you with the grief and fear that you may be feeling in the aftermath of this recent spike in crime. We will also be partnering with the Bear Mountain Parks and Recreation programs, to bring the needed activities to Lamont and Arvin so that our youth have something better to do than get involved in gangs. Faith in the Valley will be involved as well so that it can organize the faith-based groups to serve you in ways that government officials cannot. We need to work with all groups to build that circle of trust needed so that we can all work together for our safety, and against those forces that would do harm to us.

My staff recently met with Delano Police Chief Robert Nevarez, who is facing similar challenges in north Kern, and we will partner with him as well, sponsoring block parties intended to take back neighborhoods, among other things. And we will support crime prevention efforts in Wasco through support of Sheriff Activity League efforts.

I am thrilled that we are partnering with Sen. Hurtado and her staff. Our ability to reach out, to find resources and to build trust requires partners, and I invite any partner who wants to join us to come to our meeting, to contact our offices and to let us know what they can bring to the table. It is only together, face-to-face, that we can learn to trust each other and when we can do that, then we will succeed in fighting back against this scourge of crime and fear.

Interested in participating? Contact our office at 661-868-3680 or at

David Couch represents Kern County’s Fourth District.

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