Five before Midnight

This site is dedicated to the continuous oversight of the Riverside(CA)Police Department, which was formerly overseen by the state attorney general. This blog will hopefully play that role being free of City Hall's micromanagement.
"The horror of that moment," the King went on, "I shall never, never forget." "You will though," the Queen said, "if you don't make a memorandum of it." --Lewis Carroll


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Location: RiverCity, Inland Empire

Monday, February 22, 2010

Hudson and Loveridge to Search High and Low for New Chief While Shutting Community Leaders from Interview Panel

[The rivers which crosses Arroyo near the Victoria Country Club returns to flood the street, as it does every time it rains. In a few days, it will be gone until the next rain storm. ]

"I expect there will be a lot of people who will want this job."

---Riverside Mayor Ron Loveridge, to Press Enterprise.

"Wow! We the taxpayers have input. Mr. Hudson says we will never know the results or anything about ex-Chief Leach's "hearing" "trial" tribunnal" or whatever it is.

Has he even been charged with anything? Brad if you want to play fair here is your opportunity. Treat the ex-Chief according to the laws he swore to uphold!Or whatever he did."

---"People's Input"

Sure, If you beleive that "I am the boss and I am going to do as I want city manager" and "I am mayor for life ding dong" plus the "Dah city council" are going to listen to the comments and recommendations of the true citizens of Riverside, I have bridge to sell you. They listen if you have cash, mula, green franklins to put into their coffer.


In Riverside, the rain might be drying up but City Manager Brad Hudson and Mayor Ron Loveridge have gotten together to begin the search for a new police chief. Hudson of course is coming on really strong with this quest of saying that he is planning to seek public input for the hiring even as he's preparing to stack any interview panel with law enforcement officials, business leaders (meaning Chambers of Commerce loyalists and maybe a developer or two rather than a broader representation of local business owners) and the Community Police Review Commission. This panel is so community hostile right now it's considering civility and communication training at its monthly general meeting later this week in light of having run off nearly every community member who's attended one of their meetings in the past two years. Perhaps this desire for training has more to do with the City Hall loyal majority trying to leash its minority viewpoints rather than any real concern about how it presents itself at public meetings. Only time will tell on that front, but that issue of civility training will be discussed at its meeting this week along with its annual officer elections, which is sure to be eventful. It will probably end in a Peter Hubbard/Art Santore slate or a Peter Hubbard/Robert Slawsby slate. Either way, it will be more of the same from the CPRC as far as community members are concerned.

Shut out from any interview panel are actually community leaders or even the ones that City Hall likes to turn to when it needs them. Which might be disappointing to those that felt that silence on the disturbing issues surrounding what's been going on with our city was enough for them to appear nonthreatening enough to Hudson to win a spot on the panel. But apparently, Hudson has no real interest in inviting community leaders to participate on this interview panel and you notice how quickly Loveridge jumped in and said, Brad we need some community leaders on that panel which he didn't do. And Hudson's going with the commission that he controls (which is the CPRC) opposed to the Human Resources Board (which he doesn't yet but he's working on it), which would be the more sensible choice for an interview panel because this is the commission that addresses...labor issues. Plus, it's more diverse, racially and by gender than is the CPRC.

An interview panel should be broad based, comprising of a cross section of this city of people who can bring different insights and skills to the process. That would include Hudson's groups that he mentioned sure enough but should include community leaders as well. But it would be nice if they went that route (and they won't so this is purely hypothetical), they would tap into a different group of leaders than they put on committees like this one.

But then this process has clearly been stacked and that's a necessary action by Hudson to ensure that he can hire a brand new puppet. Because after seeing the process that went into hiring the current manager of t he CPRC, Kevin Rogan, it's difficult to believe that Hudson would ever want a police chief in power who wouldn't kowtow to him and his whims. It's pretty much known by everyone that Hudson's been micromanaging the police department with his assistant, Tom DeSantis for at least several years now and the history of how that all began will be detailed here in future blog postings. But no, Hudson doesn't want an independent police chief and he's in control of the hiring process although it's not clear how a ribbon cutting mayor (as Riverside runs on a city council-city manager form of government) like Loveridge can have his fingers in the mix. Watching Loveridge and Hudson clash is much more interesting than watching them launch a joint project like hiring the next controllable leader of the police department. What's very clear is how damaging this system of micromanagement by Hudson and his minion have been to the police department. We're all paying the price for the allowance of Hudson and DeSantis to essentially manage the department during the past several years in an extent much greater than what should be deemed appropriate for a city manager.

But it's always fun to read into what Hudson says because he's actually saying a lot through relatively few words spoken. He and Loveridge have said there will be a 9o day window and that a recruiting firm has been picked and apparently hired and folks, these contracts to these head hunters are not cheap. Which is interesting because in the past, such hiring was done in public in front of the city council which then would vote on the recruiting firm from a list of them in a public meeting much as it did when it set about to hire a new police chief in 2000 and a new city manager in 2004. It remains to be seen whether the city council which wasn't quoted in this article will be voting on the contract for the recruiter, will be participating in the hiring of a firm from a list of competitive bidders or will be leaving it all up to its city manager as it's been prone to do with a lot of decisions since 2006. Hudson also plans to hold 3-4 community forums for input. The process is open and inclusive to any applicants. That affirmation will be tested, Mr. Hudson. But you have to love this quote given by Hudson in the light of recent events.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

"You've got to engage the community in this process," Hudson said.

Just like Hudson did in the aftermath of the accident that former chief, Russ Leach got into and the resultant traffic stop. He engaged the public by quickly behind closed doors hiring a Best, Best and Krieger attorney to provide "independent oversight" over the police department's own "sweeping" investigation which began several days after it should have started. Hudson's not even interested in giving the city residents who pay his salary and those who employ him an honest accounting of what's happening in the police department that has sunken in its reputation in the past several weeks due to the incident itself and allegations of a cover up by members of the police department and people inside City Hall. This occurred on the watch of Hudson and DeSantis, not to mention City Attorney Gregory Priamos. We're all going to be paying for the end result of their micromanagement of the agency from inside the walls at City Hall. It's a question whether or not city council members up for reelection in 2011 are going to be having to answer related questions. And perhaps even in election cycles beyond that, something for the current crowd considering a run for the mayoral spot in 2012 to keep in mind when whipping up some campaign literature.

Then there's the commentary from some of those who will be on this interview panel, including CPRC commissioner, Robert Slawsby who endorsed former Councilman Frank Schiavone in his unsuccessful attempt to remain in office.


"I hope it's not just looked at as a window dressing," said Robert Slawsby, a member of the civilian review commission. "If they feel we can add some valuable insight, that would be great."

Slawsby said he believes an inside candidate should be strongly considered, and that it would "almost send the wrong message" to current commanders if the search were to focus too much on the outside.

Slawsby must surely know by now that his commission that he serves on is "window dressing" and since he's content to still serve on it, then it's not clear what the problem is with the selection process set forth by Hudson. His comments about seeking someone from inside are interesting considering his past endorsement with Schiavone. But can the department really hire someone to serve as police chief from the inside? The public pretty much overwhelmingly wants someone from the outside to be hired as police chief and apparently, there's not much trust internally of anyone within arm's reach of the top cop job. Even while city leaders and also key community leaders remain silent on this issue, everyone else seems to believe that it's time to clean house inside the police department. In between jokes about handing out chief applications to the strip clubs so that anyone within the police department who wants the job would have a head start on that rigorous recruitment and hiring process.

Loveridge apparently doesn't know that yet because he's busy talking about how a lot of people are going to apply for this job, because after all, who wouldn't want it? Well, the enthusiasm they will see during their hiring process depends on how quickly or not they learn what Riverside's City Hall is really looking for in its police chief.

It all depends on whether and how many prospective candidates are willing to get a job where they can collect a huge salary (though probably not one on scale of what Leach made while in the position) and allow themselves to be manipulated and micromanaged in return. Any independent thinking chiefs will be intelligent to read the writing on the wall and in between the lines and apply elsewhere. After all, they'll have better things to do with their time and energy than set themselves to be micromanaged by their boss.

Just In!

RPD Shows Off DUI Evaluation Skills Involving Average Citizens

Officers involved in Leach's stop send a more ordinary drunk driver to jail

There's some great news coming out of the Riverside Police Department this morning in that several of its officers have successfully conducted a DUI stop involving a vehicle which was driving on three flattened tires. They arrested the individual and took another drunk driver off of the city's streets.

No, it's not THAT traffic stop of course, but this is another one involving an average citizen who's not in charge of the police department and is not a "high profile" person either. So it's likely that Hudson and his assistant, Tom DeSantis probably weren't notified about it pursuant to their policy involving "high profile" stops by police. But if one of the names sounds familiar, that would be that of Officer Grant Linhart who performed this traffic stop of this potentially DUI individual who was ultimately arrested rather than given a ride home. Linhart was the same one who along with Officer Jeremy Miller had run into the former police chief when it was he who was driving around two while missing two tires and having no idea where he was or what had happened to his vehicle. Incidentally Officer Sepulvada shows up on the CAD report the city handed off to the daily newspaper as responding to the reported accident by Leach at Central and Hillside on Feb. 8.

Here is the stop in a nutshell.

NPC: Central

Time: 2336 hrs. (11:36 p.m.)

Location: Magnolia Ave. / Adams

DUI #024709:

Officers Sepulveda and Linhart responded to a report of an Reporting Party following a possible DUI driver. While en-route to the location they were given additional information that the suspect vehicle was travelling on three flatten tires. The officers conducted at traffic stop of the suspect vehicle in the area of Magnolia Ave. and Adams St. and a DUI investigation on the suspect driver. The driver was arrested and booked into RPDC without incident. fao

Above summary written by Sgt. Frank A. Orta

Okay, so this is how a DUI stop is properly done, in a professional manner, right? It's good to see that this was done, because as stated, the streets are a bit safer without drunk drivers. And it's good to know that Linhart in particular clearly understands the appropriate procedure to follow when a reported potential DUI involving a vehicle with missing tires crosses his path. But why did he and other officers when faced with a similar situation involving a car that had even fled the scene of an accident (which is illegal in this state), treat that situation so much differently? Meaning that none of them even did a "DUI investigation"?

But it gets even more interesting because as it turns out, some other familiar names were involved in the above DUI stop at least in terms of supervising that particular area and crew of officers during that patrol shift. These individuals were Sgt. Frank Orta (who was working the Central NPC) and Watch Commander Lt. Leon Phillips. Both men worked in their respective assignments during the early morning shift that involved Leach's traffic stop and subsequent drive home by unnamed parties. Both played principle roles in that situation.

The police department is to be commended for showing how it handles potential DUI stops (as alleged by reporting parties) and those involving vehicles with flattened or missing tires which is of course very important for getting unsafe motorists off the city streets. But the handling of this traffic stop while well and good has produced even more questions and concerns about the handling of a similar stop involving Leach who wasn't even tested by Linhart, Orta or Phillips.

It's nice to know that the cast of people involved with Leach's stop know how to do the DUI stops, well at least those involving nonimportant people, but that tells us that the problems involving their former boss' stop weren't due to ignorance of the process, but what was the problem exactly? It would be nice if Hudson and the police department could explain that part to the city's residents. About why there's clearly two separate standards to how "potential DUI" stops were handled, especially given that Leach actually admitted to being under the influence, albeit to prescription medication.

A compare and contrast of this DUI investigation and arrest and the filed away traffic collision report involving the former police chief will be done in a future blog posting, given that most of the same individuals were involved in both incidents.

Riverside's City Council to consider asking the voters whether or not to have hotels charge a "bed tax".

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