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“The City of Anaheim has formally opened the recruitment process for a permanent Chief of Police. The first step is to hear from the community on the qualities they would like to see in this highly demanding and highly visible law enforcement position, as well as to hear first-hand about the key issues and priorities the Chief of Police should address. The City welcomes the community’s input.
Residents and stakeholders can attend a community forum TONIGHT!
Wednesday, September 18 at 5 p.m.
Anaheim City Hall Council Chambers
200 S. Anaheim Blvd, Anaheim, CA
For those unable to attend, comments will be accepted through an online survey. Please click here to submit your comments. “
I received this message at 3:52 PM yesterday. I could not make it as I had already other commitments. Whoever planned this well intentioned meeting must have good reasons to send the announcement a couple of hours before the meeting. Somehow sending this message at the last minute resembles the negative precedent of the last council meeting, when Art Moreno’s negotiation demands were agendized without providing adequate notice for public discussion.
I wonder whether this community forum was well attended by the diverse members of the community. If it was mostly attended by the Chamber of Commerce, SOAR representatives, and supporters of the Union Police president, then the legitimacy of this process is questionable. The transparency of the tabulation of the online survey is another indication whether this process is genuinely conceived to consider the community input.
The highly appreciated mission of the police, to “protect and serve”, was seriously damaged last year in some sections of our community. The pattern of fatally shootings young Latinos, and the militarized response to the riots, and the heavily armed presence in the barrios, provoked a profound distrust of the Police Department.
The interim chief has taken significant steps to re-establish the trust with the affected community, such as transferring police officers from the neighborhoods where they were involved in fatal shootings, and redefining the gang injunctions programs. See Adam Elmahrek’s article on the progress report presented by the police department at the last council meeting. No matter how well qualified a Chief of Police could be, the reluctance to set up a civilian oversight committee will maintain a strained and distrustful relationship with a sizable section of the community.