Photo by Joe Green via Flickr Creative Commons

Letters to the Editor — September 2019 — Involve Community in Police Chief Selection Process

[Aug. 23 was] a dark day for democracy in the City of Fresno. Once again, the city has failed to listen to the voices of the many. Community members and young people were clear that they wanted a transparent and inclusive process to select our next police chief and called for a police chief who will commit to implementing a community policing philosophy, respect residents in every neighborhood and restore the department’s integrity.

Instead, residents got a sham process that leaves our police department without permanent leadership and left community residents out in the cold. The fix was in from the beginning. Mayor Brand and his inner circle picked the chief they wanted. Instead of seeking out new leadership, they decided to choose someone within a department that is over-resourced, receiving nearly 54% of the City’s General Fund dollars, yet clearly under-managed.

Two-thirds of our officers are suffering historic lows of employee morale, as indicated by the 2018 Fresno Police Officers’ Association survey. Fresnans, young people and officers on the street deserve better.

Mayor Brand, once again, blew his opportunity to lead our city forward, leaving the rest of us to pick up the pieces. The question is, who really made the decision to leave our police department in limbo? We call on the city to implement a true community process to find an appropriate police chief free from inner-circle and political candidate influence. We cannot afford to wait any longer.

Sandra Celedon

President and CEO, Fresno Building Healthy Communities

  • The Community Alliance is a monthly newspaper that has been published in Fresno, California, since 1996. The purpose of the newspaper is to help build a progressive movement for social and economic justice.

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