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Escalon Police Train To Tackle Sideshows

There hasn’t been one in or around the city, but local police are preparing for the possibility of a sideshow impacting the area.

The display of automotive ‘tricks’ that impacts freeways and intersections has grown in the past several years and Escalon Police Chief Mike Borges said the department is being proactive about them.

“There is a countywide task force,” the chief explained. “The CHP, Stockton Police Department and the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Department are the leads.”

Borges said Escalon has also chosen to participate in the task force and some officers have attended specialized training.

“Stockton has been getting hit really hard,” the chief added, noting that Escalon responded to assist with a sideshow in that city earlier this month.

The concern, he added, is that the sideshows will start migrating out of cities and in to the unincorporated areas of the county, including rural regions outside Escalon.

“When requested, we will supply officers to assist,” Borges said of being part of the task force. “Four of our officers have received additional training from the CHP.”

Officers undergoing the training included Carl Poortinga, Steven Quilici, Chad Collins and Mikale Bell.

An incident on March 3 saw Officers Poortinga and Pelham respond to assist with a sideshow and they were involved in a traffic stop on one of the participating vehicles, which was towed from the scene.

Borges said it “just makes sense” for Escalon to participate in the task force, as the sideshow participants get bolder and expand their sphere of influence.

“We want to be proactive rather than reactive,” the chief said. “There’s also a fear that when Stockton puts the heat on them, they could move this way ... I don’t want them at McHenry and 120.”

Known for taking over intersections and impacting traffic flow, the chief said being part of the task force to deal with sideshows not only means his officers have the specialized training to deal with the incidents, but the city also has immediate assistance available from other agencies should the need arise locally.