OC Political

A right-of-center blog covering local, statewide, and national politics

Final Thoughts on Police Contract Hearing

Posted by Brenda Higgins on April 24, 2012

The public hearing is tonight, Tuesday April 24, 2012.  I have tried to stay up to speed on the varying positions and share information that has been available to me.  I have encouraged residents to be present if they have an opinion, and it is entirely possible that this issue will likely be voted upon by the Council and finalized tonight.

In the recent discussions of this issue many residents expressed dislike of Brea Police and support for anyone else.  This was usually due to an incident or interaction with an on duty officer. Residents on the East side complain of excessive response time.  Residents have complained about rise in crime in Yorba Linda in recent years, as well as over zealous traffic enforcement.

I have read that 20% of the Brea Police force resides in Yorba Linda.  I am acquainted with a few of them, and the uncertainty of this situation has definitely had an impact on those families, as will a termination of the contract. 

Since 2006, and since the last renewal of the Brea contract, there has been ample evidence that the current council members have had a desire to explore other options.  Although there has been complaint of the lack of actual notice to the public of the Notice of Termination vote on November 1, certainly Brea Police have had time and opportunity to impress the community that they desire to continue policing. I have no idea if there were concerted Public Relations effort in the past years,  the point I am making is that even if the notice of the issue voted on in November was not technically appropriate, the fact that we had a council seated who desired to terminate this relationship has not in any way been a secret. 

I am aware that there are law enforcement personnel, who are residents, who support the bid of Anaheim Police.  It has been argued that Anaheim is only interested in increasing the efficiency of service to Anaheim.  I not in possession of any evidence to support that contention that Anaheim does not have the best interests of Yorba Linda residents in mind in submitting their bid.  I have heard arguments that Anaheim is not capable of expanding to handle the extra work load and that they are over burdened now.  I have not seen any evidence to support that.

The Sheriff bid has vociferous supporters.  I have expressed my concern related to the bid and my perception of it’s incompleteness and a few instances of Pollyanish approach to the costs and constraints of setting up a station in Yorba Linda.  It has been alleged by some residents that the OCSD is “Corrupt”, there is no evidence to support that claim.   In fact, the evidence is to the contrary.  When Sheriff Sandra Hutchens assumed her current role in that agency, it was in the wake of tremendous controversy and scandal.  In hearing the Sheriff herself discuss this during her recent campaign, she indicated that there were enormous changes to the department after she took the helm, a large scale restructuring, not to mention to large job of restoring public faith in the troubled agency. There is no evidence to suggest ongoing ethical challenges in the department and to saddle the current Sheriff with the sins of her predecessors seems inherently unfair.

In short, these are all public agencies, flawed, but doing their job in the context in which they are currently employed.  I continue to be concerned at the rhetoric and spin applied to advocate the different agencies, and while I understand the enthusiasm of the public, there should be no fear or concern if your team doesn’t win this ball game. 

Further, given what I have seen on some of the web pages promoting one agency or another, the tendency to misrepresent the content of the bids is unfortunately high.  I encourage the concerned residents to go to the city website, where you can view all the pertinent documents as well as the side by side comparison.

Residents are entitled to voice their opinions and concerns this evening.  I would encourage all residents in attendance, regardless of what side you are on and who you like/don’t like or agree/don’t agree with, remember that our City Council Members are elected officials.  They are seated because the majority of voters in our city supported and elected them.  They each serve for nominal financial compensation and usually at a significant personal cost and investment of time.  For that reason, they are entitled to courtesy.  The hearing process is part of our constitutional guarantees of due process of law, and as such the process itself is worthy of our courtesy and respect.

Finally, all three of the agencies in the bidding process are fine and competent law enforcement agencies.  Regardless of anyone’s opinion of how they stack up, the bottom line is that the representatives there tonight, represent the men and women who put on a uniform and put their lives on the line each day so that you and I don’t have to.  Please express opinions in a manner that is respectful of this office.

I for one, would love to see the rhetoric toned down significantly and a dramatic turn in the politics as usual in Yorba Linda.  We are a close community of residents all significantly invested in preserving our way of life.  We can certainly accomplish this best by being respectful of each other, respectful of the process and those involved in it.

One Response to “Final Thoughts on Police Contract Hearing”

  1. Ed Rakochy said

    Thank you for your balanced comments.

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