Public Security Commission | Community Forum on Hiring New Police Chief Makes Critical Contribution | South Pasadenan
In a forum held Monday evening, dozens of citizens have connected and made their voices heard loud and clear about the process of hiring a new police chief in South Pasadena.
Hosted by the Public security commission and hosted by PSC Commissioner Ed Donnelly alongside Acting City Manager Sean Joyce, the hour-long virtual town hall gave voters the opportunity to present questions and comments to the City of South Pasadena.
Joyce, who worked 25 years as city manager for the towns of Walnut, Sierra Madre, Irvine and South Pasadena, prefaced the meeting by referring to her own experience in hiring four chiefs of police – two for the Department of South Pasadena Police – during his career. He described the process to be undertaken as a “great challenge” but also a “great opportunity” adding that the City “feels (feel) a great responsibility to ensure that the right candidate is chosen; (someone) who will understand the community best, understand the core values of the community, and build those core values when he leads the South Pasadena Police Department for years to come.
The open forum divided the discussion into four main categories:
– What should be the professional experiences of a new chef,
– what should be their training,
– what kinds of traits and personal characteristics they should have,
– and what challenges they will face in the community that will need to be addressed
The expectations expressed by the participants almost unanimously revealed common themes of cultural / racial sensitivity, transparency, reformist education, anti-prejudice training, respect and awareness of community engagement, and several others. common thread issues that have prevailed in the city, especially over the past year.
Observers of the forum but not participating directly were: Mayor Diana Mahmud; city council members Evelyn Zneimer, Jack Donovan and Jon Primuth; as well as the public security commissioners, President Amin Al-Sarraf, Jeremy Ding, Grace Liu Kung and Lindsey Angelats.
Business owners, activists, community leaders and former city officials actively participated, giving their unhindered views not only on the planned hiring process for a new police chief, but also on that of the new police chief. most recent head of department, Joe Ortiz, who resigned in November due to a controversy involving a religious fundamentalist hate group, which ensued in calls for an independent investigation into the ministry. Some have complained that there was no openness or honesty in hiring the latest boss, including Greg Hall – a former PSC vice president and retired LAPD captain – who called the process of the last appointment “flawed and not inclusive”.
WISPPA Vice President Mary Urquhart agreed with Hall, adding that the little or no public involvement in Ortiz’s hiring process was a “big mistake.” She attached a previous request from Friends of the Library president Bianca Richards to hire someone familiar with Los Angeles, in Urquhart’s reasoning: “We need someone who has connections with others. police services in the region. If there is an emergency, we have to appeal to these other departments. She also expressed concern that the multitude of recent controversies surrounding the police service would inevitably bring additional challenges to anyone taking on the job.
One of these challenges is the strained relationship between the ministry and groups like Black Lives Matter South Pasadena, who has been falsely accused by agents of the department – including Corporal Randy Wise via a police report and on camera – of being anti-police, despite co-founders London Lang and Fahren James public disapproval of negative rhetoric against cops and the desire to cooperate peacefully with local authorities. Several incidents over the summer, however, attitudes towards the SPPD worsened, with officers being criticized for implicit bias and lack of response in cases of assault against the demonstrators, and in some cases showing what some thought was secret and explicit support for far-right ideology.
In response to the many voices raised over the summer calling for police reform and restructuring, The city council appointed a sub-committee to meet the growing need for civilian oversight. This came after the strong impetus of Anti-racism committee MP, Will Hoadley-Brill, in June of last year. The Council voted unanimously 5-0.
Joyce spoke about the success (or lack thereof) of the subcommittee’s panels, of which there are few records, saying that from what he was told, they enabled inclusiveness of the community, but that he has “(his) doubts as to whether the information provided by these panels has been used or not. Obviously I was here when a change was made with the Chief (of Police) so I really want to hear what people are looking for so that I can understand whether or not there is a potential person who has. been considered last. time, but where the (former) city manager (Stephanie DeWolfe), for reasons of her own, chose not to appoint someone better identified to be successful in South Pasadena… I don’t know if that ‘is the process that failed or someone failed to process it. “
On behalf of the ARC on Monday, Member Phung Huynh submitted a list of requests, highlighting topics aligned with the core organization’s mission to “heal the deep wounds of systemic racism in our city as well as to work for racial justice in government policy (and) public safety. ”Some of these requirements for an ideal candidate included: an in-depth knowledge of data analytics, transparency, anti-racism and anti-racism. training on implicit bias; “the ability and commitment to embed an understanding of mental health issues into police service policies and guidelines”; and support a recruitment process that “will include a focus on POC candidates and women, (and) if possible, a candidate who is also bilingual ”.
William Kelly, co-founder of another militant group, Care First South Pasadena, said the head of the department must have experience working in various communities, have developed relationships with social workers when working with the homeless and must be highly qualified in fields such as criminology and sociology , preferably with a master’s degree. His thoughts were supported by fellow members Helen Tran and Matthew Barbato, who endorsed many of the evening’s speakers and added that a good role model to follow is a leader who is also “someone who is a little reformist. and can see where we are going in the future of the police.
Ellen Daigle – a business owner for over 40 years in the city, who has served on serval commissions and boards and is another WISPPA vice president – wants the next online leader to command respect and the dignity of citizens and officers, citing Chief Miller, who was head of the department from 2012 to 2018 for example. Daigle urged to consider interim chef Brian Solinsky one of the top contenders, noting that he was the one Miller gave his stars to and so he was very attached to his qualifications. His sentiment was supported by Urquhart as well as by the President of the Planning Commission, Janet Braun.
Beyond charisma as an ideal trait, resident Rich Elbaum emphasized some of the more technical properties that come with the job, believing the next police chief should be experienced, “not only working with data, but making changes in the department based on The data. ”Elbaum clarified that South Pasadena, among other cities in California, will be required to collect and report such data as part of the Racial Identity and Profiling Act. “(This) is to try to eliminate unconscious or conscious prejudices” for example, like “who gets arrested by the police”. He said what is important to him is “a leader who is going to use the data, share it with the public and make the necessary changes based on that data.”
Faced with police handling of two conflicts, resident Josh Albrektson reminded each of two cases that he “thought the South Pasadena Police really let everyone down last year”, referring to the incident by Richard Cheney, in which a far-right supporter drove his truck down a sidewalk, nearly hitting BLM protesters, whom he called an “aggressive act of intimidation” and went directly unpunished by officers who responded.
Joyce responded to this incident later that evening, using it as an example of the interrelationship between the city manager and the police chief. He said that “the fact that Richard Cheney was not quoted, in my opinion, was not treated appropriately. Where I wouldn’t normally get involved in this, and in fact I have a long history in my time of not getting involved in something like this, if it’s not done well I will get involved in (this). “
The other example, Albrektson said, was acting chef Solinksy’s perceived position of sympathy for Griffins of Kinsale, the local pub that was last closed. St. Patrick’s Day for COVID-related violations. “I had no problem with the way they handled it a year ago … but there was a (press) interviewWhere Solinsky “seemed very sympathetic to the company. Hopefully (when) the next police chief faces a similar situation where business opens up against COVID restrictions, they would actually be more assertive, ”he concluded.
Developing her qualifications, Judith Harris, a registered clinical social worker and mental health therapist, believes the leader should “be experienced and supportive of working collaboratively with mental health professionals in police work,” to be “Open to admitting gaps in training and experience. in areas such as mental health work, diversity and equity “and embody” an interest in increasing her education in these areas as well as that of the entire (police) force of the SPPD. “She, too, approved Solinsky on the basis of his upbringing.
While many reflections lined up on Monday evening, showing real community engagement, citizens expect concrete results from their contribution. Acting City Manager Joyce has made it clear that as long as the process is ongoing, this participation will remain open. He made sure that comments could be directed to him by phone or email.
“Let me know your thoughts,” he insists, “If you wake up to a revelation, let us know! Ed and I are working together on how we think about this. Asked about the final hiring of a new police chief, Joyce said, “I hope I can take this appointment before I leave.