While San Diego’s north coastal communities generally have lower crime rates than other areas in the county, an active and involved police force is a vital part of any orderly society. In addition to its regular crime prevention and law enforcement efforts, the San Diego County Sheriff’s North Coastal Station stays connected with the community through various initiatives such as meet and greets with local organizations, responsible driving courses, coffee with the community events, and giving station tours to children’s groups and schools. It’s all part of the Community Policing and Problem Solving (COPPS) philosophy, which promotes community, government, and police partnerships and proactive problem solving to reduce crime and social disorder. Join our conversation with Captain John Maryon to learn more about how these partnerships help keep residents safe.
Q&A with North Coastal Station Captain John Maryon
Please give us a brief history of the San Diego County Sheriff’s North Coastal Station. When did the station first open?
Unfortunately, I could not track down a date, but I do know our original station in Encinitas was located in the 100 block of West D Street in the office located one space east of our current storefront, which is located at 149 West D Street. I believe our current station, located at 175 North El Camino Real, was opened around 1986 when the city was incorporated.
Which areas does the station serve?
Encinitas, Solana Beach, Del Mar, and Rancho Santa Fe, as well as unincorporated county area to the Orange County line.
Approximately how many residents live in these areas?
What is your role within the department? Please elaborate on your specific responsibilities.
Although I am a captain, I am considered the “chief of police” for Encinitas, Solana Beach, Del Mar, and Rancho Santa Fe. The aforementioned cities contract with the Sheriff’s Department for law enforcement services, but since they do not have their own police department I am considered their chief. My duties are to serve the residents of the communities served by the North Coastal Station. I work closely with the city managers of the three cities as well as their councils and residents to decide their needs, which could range from parents parking illegally while dropping their children off at school to noise and alcohol violations.
At-A-Glance | Captain John Maryon
Name: John Maryon
Community: La Costa
Education: B.A. – Social Sciences, California State University San Marcos
Family: Married for 24 years with 19-year-old daughter Lindsay and 16-year-old son Brett
Hobbies and Interests: Ocean fishing in my Hobie kayak and video gaming
Favorite Local Spot: Agua Hedionda Lagoon
What is your professional and educational background?
In 1992 I was a non-graduating senior at SDSU and could only get one class, so I decided to join the Sheriff’s Department, however, I did later return to college at CSUSM and finish my degree. I was hired in January 1993 and after graduating from the academy I was assigned to work at the George Bailey Detention Facility. I worked there for three and a half years, then went to patrol at the then Encinitas Patrol Station. I worked patrol for three years, then was assigned to the Community Policing and Problem Solving (COPPS) unit. I worked COPPS for three years before being transferred to our Street Narcotics and Gang Detail (SNGD). I worked the position in an undercover capacity and got to grow a very large beard and dyed my hair platinum so I could buy narcotics from dealers. It was a very eye-opening experience. I worked SNGD for three years before being promoted to sergeant. I was again assigned to the Encinitas Patrol Station. I now supervised deputies I had just considered my peers, which was the first time this was done in the department. It worked out fine.
After one year, I was assigned to our Internal Affairs (IA) unit. IA is the police of the police. I worked this position for five and a half years. After working IA, I was promoted to lieutenant and was assigned to the Vista Patrol Station. I was in this position for about one and a half years, then was transferred to our Special Investigations Division (SID) where I supervised two border crime task force units. I worked this position for about six months before being transferred to the North County Regional Gang Task Force (GTF). After working at GTF I was transferred to our Homicide Unit and acted as the public information officer (PIO) for Homicide. We had a few high-profile incidents occur while I was assigned there. It was an amazing, but sad experience. I worked this position for one year before promoting to captain and being assigned to the newly named North Coastal Station, where I have now been for just over two years.
How did it lead you to your current position?
I’ve been very fortunate to have worked a variety of assignments, which has prepared me for my current position.
What is the most rewarding part of your job? The most challenging?
The most rewarding part of working this job is the relationships you form with your residents and deputies. I have met so many great people, but to then know you are keeping these wonderful people safe from crime is an unbelievable feeling. The most challenging part is keeping the residents safe. We work hard to be at the right place at the right time. We implement policing strategies that we know can’t fail.
What different divisions/units support the station?
Patrol, COPPS, Area Detectives, Traffic Division, Street Narcotics and Gang Detail, Community Service Officers, Crime Prevention Unit, Senior Volunteers, Rail Enforcement Unit, as well as our professional staff.
How many staff members work at the North Coastal Station?
At-A-Glance | North Coastal Station
Captain: John Maryon
Year Established: 1850
Zip Codes Served: 92024, 92007, 92075, 96067, 92014
What are the most common types of calls your station responds to?
Most calls for service between all of the areas we cover are for commercial and residential alarm activations, then for suspicious persons. Suspicious person calls were not at the top of the list when I got to this station two years ago, but it makes me happy to see because this means the residents are letting us know about suspicious activities in our communities. It is truly a partnership with the communities we serve. Every opportunity I get, I ask the residents to call for anything they feel is suspicious. I tell them they are our eyes and ears and without them we would not be as successful. It is working, which makes me happy.
How do crime statistics in your service areas compare to other parts of San Diego?
Aside from Del Mar, we have crime stats lower than the overall crime rate of San Diego County. Although we police an area with 84,000 residents the three contract cities are tourist destinations. The City of Del Mar, which has a population of just over 4,000 people, gets approximately 3,000,000 visitors per year, primarily to the SD County Fairgrounds. The crimes committed by some of these visitors cause the large disparity in their crime rate. The City of Encinitas had an additional 1,000,000 visitors to their beaches last year.
What kinds of programs, classes, or outreach efforts are available to community members?
One of our motor deputies teaches Smart Start at San Dieguito Academy, which teaches new drivers how to be responsible drivers. We teach residents how to properly install baby/child seats in their vehicles. We also give tours of the station to local children’s groups and schools. As far as outreach, every few months we try to do our coffee with the community events at local businesses. We also work with La Colonia de Eden Gardens group in Solana Beach and do meet and greets at the Solana Beach Presbyterian Church with the North County Immigration and Citizenship Center (NCICC). We also work with the Encinitas Community Resource Center.
Is the station involved with local schools? If so, how?
Although the SDUHSD does not contract with us for a school resource deputy (SRO), each deputy has been tasked with being responsible for every school they have on their beat. To introduce themselves to the school staff and be their direct liaison. I also had our COPPS deputies do the same as they tend to stay in their position longer than a regular patrol deputy.
Do you have any advice for local residents about ensuring their personal safety?
I would say to just be aware of their surroundings. If someone makes them uncomfortable or if the hair on the back of their neck stands up, then they should call us for assistance. Residents tell me they do not want to bother us or think we are too busy to respond, but that is not true. We want them to call. We can’t be everywhere all of the time, so they are our eyes and ears for their neighborhood. Again, it is truly a partnership between us and the community. It works.
How can community members stay connected with their local Sheriff’s station?
The Sheriff’s Department has a main Twitter page and the station has its own Twitter page. I am proud to say the North Coastal Station was the first within the Sheriff’s Department to go on Nextdoor.com. Nextdoor has been great so far. It allows us to connect to our residents quickly.
I really believe in the COPPS philosophy of becoming one with the community, so we recently added a storefront in downtown Encinitas. It has been well-received and has helped some of the quality of life issues the residents are experiencing down there as well as reducing our response times to the area. We will also have an office in the new Marine Safety Center at Moonlight Beach, which will help keep the beach safe and allow us to further interact with the public.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
I am very thankful for the opportunity to be the “chief” of such great cities. It is very humbling.