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

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Riverside Swears in Its Latest Police Chief

UPDATE: Asst. City Manager Tom DeSantis allegedly shreds public documents that were part of a CPRA request by the Press Enterprise pertaining to the city's vehicles. One elected official says if true, it might be a "serious problem". You think? As a former public information officer for Riverside County, DeSantis would be well briefed and knowledgeable of all relevant public records laws of the state.

One document DeSantis didn't destroy and this one's got his name on it.

[Two looks at a cold plating list for city-issued cars with an added notation at the bottom. Document is a bit faint but you can click either photo for a better look.]

Over 400 people including many police officers from different law enforcement agencies including in Riverside and Los Angeles congregated in the gardens of White Park in downtown Riverside to witness the swearing in of the newest police chief, Sergio Diaz.

Diaz becomes the first police chief in the city in nearly a decade, replacing former Chief Russ Leach and the second in a row to be hired who had worked for the Los Angeles Police Department.

Most of the city's elected officials actually attended the event. Mayor Ron Loveridge was out of town as he often is these days as was Councilman Rusty Bailey. But the rest of them attended the event despite the early morning heat and sat in the front row for the ceremony.

Councilman Steve Adams on his last day as mayor pro tem served as the master of ceremonies and told the audience that lawbreakers should beware of the new police chief which was a point well taken but one that struck more than a few people as ironic given the revelations that have come out in recent weeks of Adams' involvement in the cold plates portion of the scandals involving illegal badges, cold plates and an illicit gun sale. Also as it has been blogged about here, Adams allegedly had involved himself in the promotional process inside the police department at its highest levels by torpedoing one promotion and threatening to undo another until that captain's candidate met with him and a former deputy chief for dinner in Corona to "smooth things over" involving a political dispute between the two men. And the candidate was promoted by noon the following day.

Leach testified in a deposition stemming from a lawsuit filed against the city by two former lieutenants that Adams had been one of two councilmen who had been constantly involved with the department while he had been chief. But there's been many chefs...or chiefs in the RPD's kitchen in the past five years or so. That fact hasn't been lost on hardly anyone and that remains one of the most pressing concerns in the minds of many people about what kind of chief that Diaz will be allowed to be under the watchful eye and some say, very busy hands of City Hall.

Anyway, Adams didn't take the same turf establishing approach he had at an earlier event at City Hall involving the unveiling of the chief but this time, said that he had learned that Diaz had been a "cop's cop".

[Newly sworn in Riverside Police Chief Sergio Diaz addresses the audience of over 400 people including police officers from Riverside, Los Angeles and other cities.]

But after being sworn in under somewhat ironic circumstances, Diaz stepped to the podium to give his speech and commented on how impressed he had been during the past several weeks with the commitment of the communities to the police department and with the professionalism of the department's employees. He tempered his comments with some very pointed statements involving the issue of accountability in the department among all of its employees including its leadership team. He said that the department's officers should treat all the members of the public equally and that he would treat his employees equally and without favoritism.

He pushed for management and supervisory accountability something that had been the area of increased focus by city residents in the wake of the Feb. 8 DUI incident involving Leach. On that date, Leach had driven through the city on the rims of his city-issued vehicle and pulled over by officers in his department. Instead of arresting or citing him, the watch commander, Lt. Leon Phillips through phone calls conferred with Asst. Chief John DeLaRosa and then gave him a ride home. These actions spawned a lot of anger and distrust at the department and at City Hall and a lot of emails and phone calls to both, bringing the department tumbling down from where it had been progressing several years ago. Because it is much more difficult to build and rebuild public confidence and trust than it is to damage both. But the department has a history of resiliency and had built itself an essential framework during the five years of its consent decree with the State Attorney General's office though it still had a long road to travel because changing an infrastructure takes time. Even without sizable steps backward including those that took place on Feb. 8 and its aftermath but earlier as well.

There had been a dearth of leadership inside the RPD and also some of the expectations of leadership as well for the past several years in large part due to the power dynamics that played out between the department and elements of City Hall intent on micromanagement. And most importantly, the department didn't build or create the next generation of leadership. How could it when the focus was on undermining your competition which is all around you the higher you rise rather than using your own experiences to help mentor others into leadership?

It's no accident that most of the highest levels of management are at this point either retired, on their way to retirement or in no shape to step in as leaders until at the very least, they put their stilettos back in the toy box.

What was fascinating though not really in a good way, was watching the management staff and even the department's command staff at city council meetings from 2001-06, meaning the period of the stipulated judgment with the State Attorney General's office. This was to be a time when a management culture was built into the police department's leadership levels. But what people, at least outside the department saw, was really the opposite. Quarterly and then twice annually, the department had to report its progress on implementing reforms required under the decree and those under the Mayor's Use of Force Panel report (that was issued in April 1999). During the first several years, the command staff including the management level would show up in force at these city council reports. They would arrive together, they would sit together in several rows and then they would mostly leave together.

As several years passed (and the leadership started to change), this trend reversed itself meaning that fewer command staff and management personnel would appear at these meetings. They begin to spread out in terms of where they sat and stood. And it was interesting observing which ones didn't seem to want to sit near each other including some at the very top of the department's command hierarchy. This fragmentation began to take place just before the changes were made in the promotional processes for the captain's levels and when there was activity at the deputy chief and/or assistant chief level. And the management personnel might not have been aware of it, but it's pretty clear who didn't get along with who including at the very top of the seating chart. The seating chart for city council meetings became more spread out as time went on and not long after that, the elected leaders themselves began checking out of the process by not even scheduling the updates on the stipulated judgment towards its end or even the strategic plan afterward.

From the outside, the department's upper echelon appeared fragmented at that point already and it's not surprising when you compare that developing trend with the testimonies that were revealed in the lawsuits filed by former Lts. Tim Bacon and Darryl Hurt where the dynamics of the promotional process are laid out through the accounts of those who participated in or controlled them and then later, as you looked at the end result and its resultant fallout of those practices.

Diaz spoke about establishing an equal playing field within the police department's work force. Interesting comments as Diaz will be entering into a police department with four captain vacancies, six lieutenant positions and at least five sergeants. The department had just begun accepting applications to fill officer positions vacated due to attrition and had applied for enough grant funding from the COPs office in Washington, D.C. to allow them to unfreeze 15 more positions.

It had applied for similar funding last year but the demand for the COPs grant money equated about $9 worth of requests for every $1 allotted under the stimulus program. As a result of that and other factors, the police department came up empty handed.

At the lieutenant's level, the department had experienced about a 50% reduction in its watch command staffing and lieutenant positions had been vacated in both Special Operations and the Chief's office through retirements and officers being deployed into filling watch command vacancies. Still, lieutenants stationed in other assignments have been rotated in to do stints as watch commanders to accommodate vacancies in that division. A short term fix but not a very sound long-term solution. The city management has been very reluctant to unfreeze supervisory level positions, some say it had been done to thwart Leach's ability to promote, others say that it's related to budget cuts given that Leach has played very little role in promotions since 2005 at the department's highest levels. But pressure from the dais led to some positions being unfrozen earlier this year although some of the vacancy levels remaining have hit critical levels.

Changes to the promotional process at the lieutenants and then at the sergeants' levels apparently took place several years ago to mirror earlier changes in the promotional process involving captains. This shifted the power from those who were highest ranking on those lists and thus would be the most likely to be promoted when openings were available to those doing the actual promotions once it became clear that they could promote from anywhere on the list. In 2008, the lieutenant's promotion was given to a candidate ranked #11 on that lieutenant's list.

Earlier this year, the candidate selected was ranked #6 and in the last round, a female candidate was promoted who ranked at #5 (and was the third highest ranking female on the list). This led to candidates believing it didn't matter that they were at the top of the respective lists. And it also made it clear that the process of lobbying or selling one's self for a promotion became at least as important as any ranking on a list or skills that were brought into the rank by the candidates. That led to an increased competitive environment and more than a certain level of infighting that appears more pronounced near the top of the department's command structure. And it also led to more people wanting to involve themselves in the promotional processes including the most "hands on" city management team in recent history and at least one elected official. So that the person least involved in the process turned out to be the police chief.

And one major problem which had seized the department in recent years, was a climate of conflict and turmoil as some of its membership splintered onto different "teams" either under Leach or others like outgoing acting chief, John DeLaRosa (who retires late July) and individuals rose through the ranks including at its highest levels in ways that fostered competition and fragmentation of the upper management level rather than cooperation or collaboration. Today, that's led to a management team that is fractured and very factitious. It's not surprising that this would happen and that people would reach that level so certain that the person working next to them might have a stiletto hidden behind their backs or in their back. Alliances and friendships became sorely tested in some respects because if you team with another person to betray someone else, then you might win what you wanted, but you'll soon learn that one person's "ally" at one moment, can be an adversary the next. And that leads to employees who don't really trust one another and it showed.

And what if you do get promoted and have to work alongside the same individual who jacked you out of contention in an earlier round of promotions as happened at least once at the captain's level when the promotion of one future captain was essentially scrubbed at the 11th hour in part because of City Hall micromanagement including by elected officials but also because of another candidate playing on a better "team" or with more political points?

In an article published by the Press Enterprise not long ago, Leach spoke about the infighting in the police department but didn't mention that his own management style likely contributed to it as people believed that promotions went to individuals who were drinking buddies of one person or the other including Leach or went on vacations with them. If there's bickering and feuding over the promotional process, then situations like these certainly don't do anything but add to it. But even after he had left the job, the damage by these practices had been done. If people are being pitted against one another for whatever reason, it's a bit disingenuous for the person perpetuating that to later complain about it.

The lieutenant's and sergeant's lists became dominated at their tops by men of color and especially women. But the individuals on both lists had been passed over frequently during the infrequent promotional cycles and there's doubt expressed that the next lieutenant's list will mirror the current one.

And in the final month of DeLaRosa's stint as chief, the two highest ranking women on the lieutenant's list (as both were in the top three) were transferred out of assignments in the department's administrative headquarters at Orange Street Station and the highest ranking man of color on the lieutenant's list allegedly had an internal investigation opened up on him months after the subject incident.

Other individuals opted out of the promotional lists at sergeant and above because they believed it to be a futile process even if your ranking was good.

So it will be interesting to watch if any of these vacant positions are filled through promotion as part of the restructuring of the department that's anticipated to take place especially as the date for the semiannual shift change nears.

Many people believe that the place to watch first is how the promotional process plays out in the police department under a new chief, especially considering that there's so many vacancies at different levels excluding the detective's rank. Diaz did make pointed statements about his expectations from the supervisory and management ranks in his speeches and that it was time to put all the petty infighting behind them. It will be interesting to see what happens at the highest level of the police department's management in the face of Diaz' appointments of those management personnel, whether assistant and/or deputy chiefs, that will be part of his direct staff. One of the most hotly debated questions so far not surprisingly, is whether or not Diaz will appoint his highest ranking management personnel from inside the department (i.e. as Leach did) or transport them in from outside the department (i.e. as former chief, Ken Fortier did). There's arguments pro and con for both approaches and even a combination of both staffing strategies and there's questions raised with them as well.

Does the RPD have the breadth of talent and examples of the necessary leadership and management skills at the top of its chain of command? The jury on that is somewhat mixed but there's been concerns that the dysfunctional and some say charter violating promotional practices at the highest levels had an adverse impact on both the leadership and also the attitudes that these leaders brought with them up to their ranks as stated earlier. Including the one where they climbed the ladder and then pulled it up behind them.

But if you do that, then from where come the leaders who are to follow?

[These Riverside Police Department officers lead the audience in the pledge of allegiance.]

All issues to be grappled in the initial days of the new administration at the Riverside Police Department which brings up the issue which is on the minds of many individuals as well and that's whether or not the new chief will enjoy any autonomy and if so, how much? Will he be kept on as tight a leash as Leach or will there be a new directive out of City Hall for the city management team to well, allow their department head his department. The accounts of micromanagement of the police department by Hudson and Asst. City Manager Tom DeSantis included that even the most minor budget additions had to be signed off by DeSantis and that the two employees were given free rein over the department's resources and had run around equipping themselves with flat badges and guns initially sold to them by the department (in violation of state law)and police emergency equipment and cold plates for their vehicles.

When caught by the State Attorney General's criminal division, Hudson and DeSantis blamed other people as they did when deposed on these disturbing incidents for the Bacon and Hurt lawsuits. Even though their city management employees (who oversee the police chief) had been caught essentially red handed, their bosses at City Hall just appeared to pretend that it never happened and effusively praised Hudson while voting to settle the lieutenants' lawsuit behind closed doors to try to put a lid on these disturbing events. Which of course didn't happen as it turned out because the information reached the light of day anyway. But it did make many people asked whether the leadership at City Hall is accountable if they can't even make any comments in response to illegal and illicit conduct by their direct employees. Not even to test them on their management or leadership skills as employees who instead of taking responsibility for their own actions, point fingers everywhere else including their own subordinates. This doesn't make them really appear to be effective at leadership or management.

What do you do when you have a chief who takes the oath to uphold and enforce the law as both Diaz and Leach have done and their own bosses have been caught committing violations? Maybe it's not so surprising after all, that Leach wound up getting convicted of criminal conduct himself given that while he's responsible for his own actions, was there an environment fostered by City Hall that obeying and upholding the laws just weren't that important for those representing or working in either the police department or City Hall? The city council and mayor have shown little or no interest as a governmental entity in reassuring the public that their own employees will uphold the law from now on. They have instead given the very clear impression that it's not worth commenting on their own employees committing violations even as they meet in closed session to try to settle lawsuits where this information has come to light. But then candidates are already lining up to run against some of them during the next election cycle in 2011.

Diaz' reputation appears to be one of a reformist bent as there were accounts of him doing that within his domain inside the LAPD. Even the ACLU respected him. But even with that type of leaning to address some serious issues arising in Riverside's police department, how much will the city management's team allow him to do? Because Hudson and DeSantis have never exhibited a reformist bone during their entire tenures in Riverside. If they had, Riverside and its police department would be in a much different and a better place than it is today. Signs of the opposite from both of them emerged within weeks of the expiration of the stipulated judgment in 2006 when they tried to dilute the terms of a proposal passed by the city council in terms of the oversight of the implementation of the Strategic Plan.

That should have been a huge warning sign to the city council and mayor of problems ahead but those in power at the time and most of those since have shown very inclination to even check in with what their direct employee have been doing.

Within months, the police department had begun to reverse its progression in large part due to uneven management styles by those at its top, with some of them still implementing what they had learned under the judgment and others rejecting that approach. That's not unlike similar trends that were seen in the LAPD beginning even before the dissolution of its own consent decree with the U.S. Department of Justice. And in recent weeks, there's been indications that at least one outside agency is watching what happens in Riverside, in City Hall and the police department very carefully to see what happens next.

But City Hall made a show of force at the swearing in of its newest police chief.

Among those who attended were city officials, county officials including outgoing District Attorney Rod Pacheco, some community leaders including from the Eastside and Casa Blanca and a large contingent of police officers including dozens from the LAPD. And many people in attendance were struck by the tremendous racial and gender diversity of the LAPD contingent including a group of African-American female lieutenants and captains who had all worked with or under Diaz. Many of the LAPD officers who attended were very complimentary of Diaz' work while he had been in the LAPD before retiring in April as a deputy chief. The contrast between the LAPD which still struggles with many issues and Riverside where they've struggled to promote either African-American male officers (with no promotions since 2005 until Brian Dodson this year) or women (with no successful promotions since 2004 but a lieutenant and sergeant promoted this year) into the supervisory ranks was marked.

Officers came from departments in other cities like Beaumont, Barstow, Long Beach, Glendale and Hemet Police Chief Richard Dana attended getting a brief reprieve from all the events taking place in his city to return to his old haunt.

[City Management employees and elected officials witness the swearing in of Diaz and provide him with breathing room...for now.]

[More elected officials including Council members Chris MacArthur, Nancy Hart, Mike Gardner and Paul Davis get a front row seat at the swearing in of Riverside's newest police chief.]

The city officials that attended were on their best behavior including Adams on the stage but what lies ahead? That's the question that many people are asking since City Hall bore a sizable share of the anger and distrust over the Leach incident. With four seats up for election next year, what will happen and how many incumbents will remain in office? Given that there's been an anti-incumbent sentiment of sorts during the past two election cycles which sent three local politicians into early retirement and nearly a fourth one, it will be very interesting to see what happens in 2011.

But how much of an issue will the latest scandals which have shaken City Hall factor into these elections? Many of the incumbents don't seem to believe that the scandals which have shaken public trust are really that big of a deal, not nearly as much as the public. But it still remains to be seen what the voters will think and what they'll decide.

[Many Riverside Police Department officers of many assignments and ranks assembled at the standing room only swearing in of the police chief.]

[Riverside Police Department officers attended the ceremony en mass as did a large contingent from Diaz' former department, the Los Angeles Police Department.]

Another issue which came up in discussions involving the police department were the gains that had been made in community policing during the past decade, mostly while under the stipulated judgment. Mostly through the creation of units like the Community Policing Services (which was pretty much disbanded by 2008) but during the department's attempts to do what it called "decentralizing" community policing to become more of a philosophy than about units, the department slipped and the decline of community policing from the smaller steps that it had taken in the department became very noticeable to city residents.

Staffing cuts and the decisions not to fill vacancies at all levels of the department impacted the development of community policing much as it did in the 1990s. And the threatened disbanding of the POPs team earlier this year didn't inspire much confidence though ultimately the decision was made to not go that route.

More recently, community leaders in different neighborhoods including the Eastside and Casa Blanca found it more difficult to contact the department's leadership which seemed to be fragmented. The collaboration that many felt they had with the department had been replaced with more raids of neighborhoods (mostly through the District Attorney Rod Pacheco) and the heavily concentration of DUI checkpoints. It's been ironic for residents of neighborhoods like the Eastside which saw two DUI checkpoints in about a month to see people arrested by a department that couldn't arrest its own chief. Perhaps it will be up to the new chief to help restore trust in the tenet of equal protection under the law to among other things enhance community policing building given that the city's residents were just introduced again to separate standards for enforcement of the law regarding violations committed by denizens at City Hall.

So the future of community policing in Riverside remains unwritten as well.

The corruption trial in Rancho Cucamonga ends with a mistrial.

A lawsuit has been filed involving the botched up ballots in Riverside County.

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Monday, June 28, 2010

River City: Where Silence Speaks Louder than Words


Hundreds attend swearing in of new chief in Riverside

More to Come...

Hall of Silence

[These days, they call it the Hall of Silence as Riverside's City Hall has essentially responded to this latest crisis as they did the last one, by saying nothing. At least they didn't apparently need to hire a high-priced public relations firm to teach it how to interface with other people this time.]

There's been a lot of talk during the past few months at least amongst different communities in Riverside about the events that have transpired in the past few months since the Feb. 8 DUI incident involving former Riverside Police Chief Russ Leach and his city-issued Chrysler 300. Much of it involved the double standard that existed in regards to how average city residents are treated during DUI stops in comparison to the police chief who instead of being arrested or cited or even evaluated at the scene for being under the influence, was given a ride home by the watch commander, Lt. Leon Phillips. Leach ultimately received a medical retirement, his chauffeur, a notice of intent to terminate but the damage in terms of what had happened to the public's perception and trust in its law enforcement agency had been done.

Several months later, the dominoes began to fall inside the police department's upper management. Leach was gone. Acting chief John DeLaRosa was not surprisingly implicated in the mishandling of the traffic stop and in the delay and obstruction of its investigation by failing to either have it investigated inhouse or turning it over to the CHP until over 24 hours after the incident. Not long after he allegedly also received a notice of intent to terminate from City Manager Brad Hudson, he announced his retirement on July 23.

Deputy Chief Pete Esquivel gave hints that he would be applying for the chief's position and soon after that abruptly announced his own retirement as the Press Enterprise awaits the release of text messages from Esquivel's city issued phone that are tied into one of the internal investigations launched against him after he became interested in the chief's job. Whether there's anyone next in line to retire, is not known at this point but those who are closest to the last domino to fall must be pretty nervous, with the start date of the city's latest chief coming later this week. That's if their nerves aren't already shot from the escapades of the past several months.

But even as the management crumbles within the police department and there's many questions about whether there's a large enough of a healthy pool for the new chief to choose from for his most direct management staff, the various elements inside City Hall remain silent including the majority of the city's elected officials. They have sat and watched the police department experience its greatest turbulence in the past 10 years as the house of cards created under Leach and their current city management began to fall down. They have sat and watched as their direct city employees have engaged in questionable and even illegal conduct during the past five years as revealed in the scandals involving illicit gun sales, cold plating of city-issued vehicles and the issuance of badges to city management employees. Even though these activities attracted multiple "inquiries" (as one assistant city manager called them) from the State Attorney General's office, the city council and mayor have said nothing publicly about it.

Councilman Steve Adams can almost be forgiven for his silence because he was implicated in the cold plates mess and dismissed it as "old news" which it is to him if not to the city residents including the constituents in his ward because the city tried very hard to keep the truth buried. And why should an elected official ever feel the obligation to explain to his constituents why he violated the law prohibiting civilians from having cold plates on their vehicles. But what was truly enlightening is that all these transgressions came to light not long after Hudson had proclaimed to the masses that no one would receive "preferential treatment" and that everyone was equal under the law.

But is it true that some people are more equal than others, as George Orwell might say? Because it would seem that while the former chief enjoyed preferential treatment during his DUI incident, that his bosses, Hudson and Asst. City Manager Tom DeSantis also benefited from
preferential treatment. The city government's silence on their actions which attracted outside investigations just shows that this preferential treatment continues.

But the unwritten rule at City Hall has always allegedly been this. That as long as those on the dais keep Hudson happy, then their projects in their particular wards will proceed as scheduled and won't be delayed or deferred. That's one very effective way to keep a city council's members in line. And this unwritten rule is clearly in view when there's discourse between Hudson and city council members such as that which took place recently involving the futures of the convention center along with the downtown library and museum (which was the focus of a desperate missive for help sent out by a Metropolitan Museum Board member). Councilwoman Nancy Hart actually broke from her usual protocol and asked some pointed questions and was summarily dismissed by someone who works for her. Other city council members who have asked too many questions have had it more than hinted that they won't win reelection. Forgetting of course that it's the city residents who ultimately decides which city officials come back for another term and which get pink slipped.

Others praise Hudson's performance effusively including both the current councilman, Mike Gardner and a past Councilman, Dom Betro whose wards both included the downtown area which gets the lion share of Hudson's attention after all. These effusions of praise came just days before the revelations of illegal conduct involving the city manager's office were the focus of articles. Gardner and Betro both sounded like they had their minds on running for election and you couldn't blame them really because the Ward One contest a year out is shaping up to be one involving at least four candidates including Gardner. It's not clear what office Betro is running for at this time, but an interesting place to look might be the 2012 free for all, otherwise known as the mayoral race.

But in the meantime, the wall of silence at City Hall continues onward, and the more quiet that those inside City Hall act, the more loudly issues are discussed by city residents outside the 'Hall. And it's likely that these voices will continue talking into the next election cycle.

There's an interesting power dynamic inside City Hall that's been the topic of much discussion outside of City Hall and that involves the relationships between the mayor and city council and their direct employees. People ask, does the dog wag the tail or does the tail wag the dog? And the answer to that question can be very complex and it can evolve over time. When Hudson and DeSantis first arrived in 2005, there were still council members on the dais that were forceful enough in personality that there's some credibility to the belief that the city council was in a sense directing Hudson. Initially, there was the GASS quartet that had fired his predecessor, George Carvalho and then when Councilman Art Gage fell out of favor, he created an empty chair that was filled by Betro and then you had BASS, which didn't prove to be any improvement. But the voters had something to say about that and ultimately two members of BASS, Betro and Frank Schiavone were voted out of office and replaced by grassroots candidates who ran on fiscal accountability, Gardner and Paul Davis. Ed Adkison perhaps read the writing on the wall that GASS was in its final gasps, and stepped down.

Of that quartet, only Adams remains and in his last election in 2007, he hung onto his office by a slim margin of votes. Adams is up for reelection next year and Adkison is heavily rumored to be running for mayor with just about everyone else in 2012. But the configuration of city council began to change in 2007, but did it really change for the better?

That's a question that many residents in the city's different wards are grappling with now in the wake of all the revelations that have spilled out about upper management employees at City Hall. The only words that have come out of the city council about their direct employee who engaged in illegal conduct that apparently only because illegal or an issue when he and DeSantis were caught is to effusively praise them. And that's really only from one active council member and a mayor who called Hudson the best city manager in 30 years, which is what one step above former city manager John Holmes being the best city manager by Loveridge a decade ago?

And the message that even those that have remained publicly quiet about these revelations of illegal badges, cold plates and using the police department as an illegal gun vendor are sending, is that there's a tacit approval or at the very least tolerance for this type of behavior at City Hall. Meaning that however questionable the conduct of the city council's direct employees may have been, it must be okay with their bosses. Because silence on ethical and legal violations such as these is complicity. And if it's true that Hudson, the direct employee is instructed on what to do by his bosses, then who instructed him to engage in getting badges and cold plates for himself and his direct employees and why then did he choose to blame his subordinates when caught by investigators after these violations had already taken place?

The public has no assurance from their elected leadership that such misconduct by denizens high up in the rafters of City Hall will never happen again or that there will be any consequences if it does, because after all, it did happen without consequence to those committing the acts. People ask why there's no comments about Adams' own participation in the cold plates scandal from those on the dais, and how given that lack of comment, the public can possibly trust the city council to handle ethics complaints involving its own members. Adams actually sat in judgment of another elected official during a recent ethics code complaint hearing, ironic given that his own violation committed was first, against the law and second, covered up by City Hall until it recently came to light. But what has changed in terms of the public's ability to trust that its elected officials will be expected to behave in a lawful manner?

Absolutely nothing. Because if the power structure at City Hall gave the individuals involved in these acts of unlawful misconduct a pass as a legislative body this time, they will most certainly do it next time and the next time. The only effective mechanism for cleaning City Hall of the elected officials which are viewed by their wards as being somewhat less than desirable is the ballot box. The politicians who forget that simple fact usually get pink slipped.

But with the alpha dogs of both GASS and BASS gone or nearly gone, there hasn't really been anyone yet to replace them which makes one wonder that if you have a dominating city management team, whether once again, the dog wags the tail or the tail wags the dog. In a vacuum of clear leadership or direction from the dais in which direction does the city management go?

City Hall's Top Dog

[City Manager Brad Hudson, the city's administrator and some say he runs the city council rather than the other way around.]

The city council appears more than it did in the past to play the lessor role of leading the city in the absence of the more domineering members of the prior two ruling quartets. That's one of the most frequently asked questions, what and where is the leadership coming from at City Hall. After all, who was in charge when the city management employees were running around equipping themselves with badges and their city-issued vehicles with cold plates and emergency equipment?

Who's in charge now?

Hudson's "Kitchen Cabinet": The City Council

[From back to front, Councilmen Rusty Bailey, Andrew Melendrez, Mayor Ron Loveridge, Councilman Steve Adams and City Attorney Gregory Priamos all contributing to the sound of silence at City Hall on the recent scandals unfolding there. This round of scandals has provided a good look at who really runs the 'Hall and it doesn't appear to be its legislative branch.]

[Adams, Melendrez and Bailey sit in a meeting of the Governmental Affairs Committee to discuss the most recent proposal for changes in the investigative protocol of the CPRC. Adams show of force against the Riverside Police Officers' Association by backing these latest changes wins him its endorsement more than one year before his next election cycle.]

But it still doesn't appear that those elected to represent the city residents as a legislative body are interested in those concerns and have remained silent. Even though the past few months had apparently seen dozens if not hundreds of angry phone calls both to City Hall and the police department since this incident took place. What it seems to be is that there's elected officials including those up for reelection next year who are sitting there, hoping that those who vote have short memories. But given that there's already much discussion about people planning to run in all four wards up for grabs next year, that will be very unlikely, as accountability and transparency at City Hall seem to be big issues raised in both the city's communities as well as in the minds of those considering a run for office.

Marisa Yeager, former president of the Women's Democratic Club is contemplating a run for the first ward against Gardner and at least two other candidates are considering it. Community Police Review Commission member, John Brandriff is planning on taking on Adams in Ward Seven.

The Other Silent Partner

The other quiet entity in the past few months regarding these issues has been the Community Police Review Commission, which isn't all that surprising considering how closely some of its members identify with and align themselves along the interests of City Hall rather than those of the community. In fact, the CPRC is so hostile towards community members that it has rescheduled its monthly meetings by majority vote several times in the clear hopes that city residents will be unable to attend them. In fact, the meetings in the past few month have gone from being held at 5:30 p.m. (the scheduled time for years) to 5:00 p.m. to noon and the latest was held at 2 p.m.

They are being held at this latter time only because the commission so far hasn't found time to schedule its special meeting which is going to be held so they can decide when to meet. If they voted against meeting at both 11 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. what times are left during the day that a) city residents won't be able to attend and b) some commissioners won't be able to attend either.

[Former CPRC Chair Peter Hubbard is a high ranking employee of American Medical Response which contracts directly with Hudson's office for its public safety contracts. Despite what is clearly a conflict of interest, Hubbard was allowed to serve on the commission.]

[Chair Brian Pearcy oversees the commission's first mid-day meeting since it first began conducting meetings in 2001]

But even when the CPRC can figure out how to get most of its members together in one conference room or another, the commission has little to say on the current crisis in Riverside. Just like the City Hall, the CPRC is treating the whole mess that's erupted involving the police department and City Hall's power structure as if it never happened. People have asked, where is the CPRC but there's been no answer from that body that's supposed to provide civilian oversight over the police department. And in its greatest crisis and even in the face of the impact it's had on community/police relations, the commission remains silent, in violation of its charter powers most particularly Charter Amendment 810(a) which compels the CPRC to advise the city council and mayor on all community/police relations issues. But seeing itself as a prop to City Hall, it's unlikely that the commission will function as a productive entity anytime soon because clearly City Hall doesn't want it to function that way.

The CPRC should have gone out in the communities of Riverside and had listened to people's concerns about what transpired on Feb. 8 and its aftermath and how it impacted relations with the police and the CPRC should have gone to the police department's employees and asked them how what happened impacted community/police relations from their perspective. And then taken this information to the halls of city government and served in its advisory capacity under this charter power and responsibility. Of course what would have been really helpful would have been if the elected leaders at City Hall would have been concerned or even interested in how the chain of events that transpired involving the police department and City Hall impacted community/police relations. But that's not concern that has been expressed so far from the dais and that probably won't change until those who are up for reelection believe that expressing this concern from the communities is necessary to remain in office.

In the meantime, the police department faces similar challenges to those it faced a decade ago. One chief gone, another coming in, again from the Los Angeles Police Department. Severe staffing shortages and sharp reductions in the training budget. A half dozen officers including the former chief who've gotten into trouble and been prosecuted. A crisis of trust with the city's residents and a slew of medical and other retirements. And even potentially outside scrutiny from a variety of law enforcement agencies or investigative bodies of a city where its own accountability mechanisms including civilian oversight have been effectively neutered or weakened by City Hall. An apathetic City Hall.

In 2010, did Riverside come full circle again? And if so, who or what will set it right again?

Press Enterprise Columnist Dan Bernstein writes about more cherry picking at City Hall.

Anyone know what Dan means by "Seventh Floor Glockers?" Just kidding.

Hemet experiences more attacks on its police facilities.

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Friday, June 25, 2010

Riverside Prepares to Swear in Its Latest Police Chief

[The City Hall in Riverside is getting ready to wind down its most recent action-packed and scandal-ridden fiscal year in recent memory and head on towards the next. Will it be as dramatic, scintillating and require a program manual to follow? Stay tuned!]

Riverside to Swear in New Police Chief

[The administrative headquarters of the police department on Orange Street and its denizens have a new commander in chief who hopefully will last long enough to get his name painted on the door because what's broken in Riverside hasn't been fixed.]

As the fiscal year winds down along with the month of June, the police department awaits its new police chief who will begin working for the city on July 1. That also means that the latest administration, that of Acting Chief John DeLaRosa will be winding down to a close. He will be part of the transition forces which will be showing the new chief the ropes until DeLaRosa's own retirement on July 23. DeLaRosa's exit will mark the third at the department's highest levels in recent months since the events stemming from former Chief Russ Leach's DUI incident unfolded. Oh who would have thought this chain of events would have transpired back in January? Then on the other hand, these days were bound to come because the city had set itself on this inevitable path through its own decision making processes beginning years before Feb. 8, 2010.

Former Los Angeles Police Department deputy chief, Sergio Diaz will be sworn into his position a day earlier, on Wednesday, June 30 at 9:30 a.m. at White Park which is located on Market and 10th Streets. Engraved invitations were sent out via email by the police department to select individuals and it's not clear for some people who've asked whether this noteworthy event is open to the general public or whether it's restricted to those invited. If you're in the area, you might want to check out this event and if anyone gets refused entry because they don't have an invitation, then feel free to use the email address at the top of the blog. If anyone asks you why you are there, just tell them to witness the swearing in of the new city employee financed by your tax dollars.

Thanks to those who notified this blogger that this event was even scheduled to take place, because as some of you might guess, this blog just isn't that popular with certain segments of City Hall or the police department's upper management. So it receives very few press releases out of either City Hall or the police department. But then most people on this city aren't on either press release list either, so we get news of these upcoming events wherever we can get it and we all love to ask questions about what happens in our city and that's not going to win you any popularity contests at City Hall, particularly when you go after the truth that others want to hide. And there's definitive efforts coming from different corners in Riverside to do just that.

But hopefully this swearing in ceremony is open to the public because after all, who pays the salary of the city's police chief? Those who truly shop Riverside rather than just talk about doing that like some of the local politicians who buy their campaign materials in Orange County for example. Diaz has already been making the rounds at meetings such as those held by The Group and the Latino Network among others. He had his formal and public unveiling several weeks ago and that was attended by over 200 people, both members of the public and employees of the police department. And it was fascinating to see the dynamics of the department and those of City Hall play out already even in a more social setting held in the lovely Grier Pavilion.

It was interesting to see how close City Manager Brad Hudson hovered to his newest chief and how there was a bit of a turf challenge tossed out by Councilman Steve Adams in his own comments, which were a bit bizarre and difficult to process at first. But fully understandable given allegations made against him by two former lieutenants that he had involved himself in the promotions of at least three captains in violation of the city's charter. It's understandable that he believes it's his police department in that context. But he would be wrong about that as it belongs to all the residents of this city, not City Hall.

It's clear that even before he's arrived in Riverside to start his new job, that Diaz will be walking a difficult tightrope. It's difficult to even be a police chief in normal circumstances that actually make sense what with balancing one's self between the three co-partners of public safety (borrowing from former State Attorney General, Bill Lockyer) meaning City Hall, the communities and the department employees. But alas, Riverside's hardly normal at all, given the escapades that have come to light about some of the denizens at City Hall running around decking themselves out like police officers including acquiring or trying to acquire badges, cold plates, emergency equipment including sirens and even guns from an unlicensed dealer, the police department. Some might feel like the fuss on these illegal antics is not worthy but they would be wrong about that given the very real damage it's done in this city including with the police department.

When caught some time after the fact, those involved simply claimed ignorance about the violations and/or they pointed the finger of blame to a subordinate employee or an entire city department essentially saying [insert name of individual or department] made me do it. And interestingly enough, the higher up the chain of power in this city that you ascend, the quicker that person denies any knowledge and points that finger of blame elsewhere.

But what it must be to be hired as a police chief of an agency and have to report to bosses who have been tied to three "inquiries" by the State Attorney General's office regarding the misuse of police equipment including those in the police department. To take an oath to uphold the law and to report to those who have essentially been caught breaking it. Yes, they were afforded the chances to remedy their actions that others of lesser status might not receive and even deny their culpability or pass the buck but it does place a police chief in an unenviable position and it compromises his ability to exert his own authority.

It's difficult to understand where the authority provided to this police chief to be autonomous over his department would even come from, especially since as long as Hudson and his management team have been in town, this form of autonomy has never even existed.

So how can a police chief really be a police chief in this city? And what will his bosses have to say about that given their track records?

Let the games begin.

The Chief's "Chief"?

[As the first work day of the new chief approaches, the question's still being asked, how much autonomy will Diaz have over the Riverside Police Department? Will decisions involving the operations of the RPD come out of Orange Street or from Main Street? What would be Hudson's answer to that? The mayor and city council?]

An obvious answer to that issue would be that Hudson would have his own bosses, the city council and mayor, to keep him in line when it comes to both allowing Diaz to be an autonomous police chief and to stop performing actions which draw the attention of outside law enforcement agencies and brings them to the doors of the police department and City Hall to investigate either. Although it might prove to already be too late for that. But if you look what the spokespersons on the city council as a legislative body have been doing, it's been praising Hudson's actions in every forum, including a Press Enterprise article where Mayor Ron Loveridge called Hudson the best city manager in 30 years just days before the whole badges, guns and cold plates scandals came to light. But then some old timers told me that Loveridge gave similarly effusive praise to former City Manager John Holmes.

So as far as majority leadership goes on the dais, it doesn't look like the S.S. Hudson will be reset on a more appropriate path if he does return to familiar patterns involving the micromanagement of the police department.

Obviously the message sent by former U.S. President Harry S. Truman about the buck stopping here, meaning at the top of the structural hierarchy of power, didn't quite make it inside Riverside's very own City Hall. Because when you're at the top of the power structure at City Hall or the chain of the command at the police department (where Hudson placed himself at the top), then it's always easy to blame someone else for actions and decisions made while at the top.

For the past five years, the police department's been run by a variety of characters. From 2001-early 2006, it was essentially run by the State Attorney General's office through a list of mandated reforms that former Police Chief Russ Leach had to abide by while at the helm of the department. Then in 2005, along came Hudson and his assistant city manager, Tom DeSantis who at some point probably early on in their administration began micromanaging the department even down to budgetary acquisitions and day to day operations. They involved themselves more heavily in the "final say" role in the department's promotional process than any other city management team at least in recent memory. They even allegedly allowed elected officials including Adams to have the "final say" in several promotions including the vetoing of Leach's plans to promote then Lt. Meredyth Meredith in late 2005.

And it's these actions which when they finally came to light including in public forums, beg the obvious question to be asked involving Diaz and his tenure with the police department.

Who Will Promote

and Fill

the Vacancies in the RPD?

In fact, if you look at the promotions made since at least 2005 involving the department's captains, it really shows you the challenges that lie ahead for Diaz when it comes to being a chief who will have to involve himself fairly quickly in the promotional process at the management and supervisory levels to fill a high number of vacancies in the department including four at the highest levels. If the State Attorney General's office who was alarmed by the vacancy rate in the 1990s could see the department now, it might be more than a little concerned with how the department's trending in this respect especially if the number of vacancies continues to grow. How did these vacancies ever get to be so many? Well, part of the blame lies on the recession's impact on Riverside's own finances much like the recession of the mid to late 1990s but quite a bit lies at the door of Hudson.

The staffing levels from patrol officer on upward and on the civilian side as well are very critically low and many of them need to be filled. The lieutenant's rank is operating at a 33% vacancy level and the sergeants are low also, but both tap heavily into the officers' pool because every promotion that's filled ultimately impacts the numbers of officer positions out in the field. The only rank not impacted by attrition is the detective's rank due to the early 1990s MOU between the city and the Riverside Police Officers' Association that requires that rank to have its vacancies filled. There is some acceptance of applications for lateral officers and for a detective vacancy.

But what these promotions and what it took to make them will make you ask the question, Will Diaz actually be the individual making these promotions? Who will pick out his management team? Will it be him, or the city management...or how about Adams? It's critical to pay very close attention to how Diaz as the department's latest police chief will build his own management team. Who will serve in these positions and where will they come from? Will they come from inside the police department or from outside of it? And who will really be the individual or individuals making these choices? How these initial steps that are often the ones taken by incoming chiefs are handled and carried out will actually provide quite a bit of information on who will ultimately run the police department.

Most people seem to believe that there's not enough depth within the highest level of the police department's management to fill the positions of those closest to the police chief. Both the assistant and deputy chiefs are or will be completely out of the picture. And it's not clear yet what will happen with the department's four captains particularly those closest to or past retirement age. In some agencies even this one in the past, that might mean retiring quietly but some of the staunchest barnacles in the RPD have traditionally been its long-timers so how this plays out at the highest levels could be the most interesting dynamic at least in the initial weeks and months of Diaz' tenure as chief.

Promotion Blocked by City Hall?

[Former Lt. Meredyth Meredith was Leach's choice for promotion in December 2005 but her promotion was blocked in the final hours by Asst. City Manager Tom DeSantis acting on behalf of Councilman Steve Adams according to sworn testimony. If this was indeed the case, the actions against her violated the city's charter.]

Promotion on Hold and then Saved in Corona?

[When Capt. John Carpenter was a lieutenant, he allegedly fell out of favor with Adams during the 2007 election cycle. Leach wanted to promote Carpenter but nothing happened until not long after former Deputy Chief Pete Esquivel brokered a meeting between Adams and Carpenter to "clear the air" between the two men at a restaurant all the way in Corona. By noon the next day, Carpenter had received his promotion. If Adams had any influence in that promotion, he violated the city's charter.]

Bumped to the Front of the Line?

[Capt. Mark Boyer was promoted to that position in December 2005, at the same time that Meredith's promotion had been vetoed by City Hall. Some claimed, it was community policing experience that placed him first, others connections to Adams or perhaps a political marker that he called in with Leach. Whatever it was, Boyer received the promotion but didn't stay long with the police department retiring in June 2009 after a rocky period with the department in his final months.

Did Youth Carry the Day?

[Lt. John Wallace became the department's youngest captain when promoted at around age 38. A talent with words and great ambition (enough to be the sole tryout for the chief's spot from inside the department) helped get him there but were rumors true that he also made a rumored trip out to a High Desert city to pick up an inebriated Leach?]

Where Possession is Nine-tenths the Law

[Capt. Mike Blakely is the most senior officer at that level inside the police department having arrived in the department as Ken Fortier's second in command which means unlike the others in his rank, he has tasted even higher management than where he's at. But what will the future hold for the department's alpha captain? Will he rise again up in the chain of command and how will he impact Diaz' transition?]

Even when looking past the upper management of the police department and even above Hudson, there's the city council including one current member who's apparently had more influence in the operations of the department as an elected official than he ever did as one of its police officers. And this could be one of the most interesting dynamics especially given that Adams has already essentially thrown down the gauntlet to Diaz through his "We are RPD" speech at the chief's unveiling at City Hall. Incidentally, Diaz had little difficulty deflecting Adams' comments in his own speech, having coming from a more intricately organized politicized environment in L.A. than you'll ever see in River City.

Will "Chief" Steve Adams Butt Heads With Chief Diaz?

[Councilman Steve Adams, here sitting in the mayor pro tem chair and some say, also occasionally sitting in the police chief's seat as well, especially when it comes to approving captains' promotions between December 2005 and early 2008. ]

What's interesting to people is how will Councilman and retired police officer, Steve Adams react to the arrival of the latest police chief, Diaz? Given that as the former chief, Russ Leach testified in a deposition, Adams was constantly all over the police department. And further testimony illuminated that Adams allegedly played a considerable role in the promotion of two lieutenants to the captain's level and the 11th hour veto of another lieutenant.

But there will be more coming down the road on Adams later...

The Lesson of Maywood

This news article documented the events behind the final collapse of the city, Maywood which recently disbanded its city services including its beleaguered police department. Beginning July 1, Maywood will become a "100% contract" city in the wake of the collapse of its final row of dominoes which started by the city's inability to pay off a massive number of claims and lawsuits filed against the city involving its police department. That put its status with its insurance carrier on civil litigation into jeopardy and after Maywood failed to satisfy a list of conditions mandated by its carrier, it became uninsured.

Maywood's police department hired a large number of questionable police officers including many who had been arrested, fired or had failed to be hired by up to 25 other law enforcement agencies. The claims and lawsuits filed against it involved just about every form of police abuse, corruption and misconduct that exists, from sexual assaults, to excessive force to fraud. Some have called Maywood's police department the most dysfunctional ever and that appears to have been the case. Ironically, Maywood also contracted its own police forces out to Cudahy, a neighboring city. Now Maywood's residents will have police services provided by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department starting at the beginning of the upcoming fiscal year on July 1.

But how surprising is it that this would happen involving a police department where 13 out of 39 of its officers (and some say many more) were problematic hires and even two of its interim chiefs were convicted criminals before being hired? Seriously what kind of expectations does a city council have involving its police department if a criminal conviction (whether for verbal threats or theft) doesn't disqualify a person from becoming police chief? Word is, that the third interim police chief did have professional integrity and the city did ultimately hire a permanent chief, but what kind of messages were sent to Maywood's police force and to the public by the decisions coming out of City Hall?

It became the subject of county, federal and state investigation and at the time it was disbanded had been the focus of a negotiation between the city and the State Attorney General's office of some form of court-mandated reform process similar to that faced by Riverside in 2001. Maywood was the focus of several blog postings here particularly back in the spring of 2007 when the scandals involving both its City Hall and police department first broke.

But what's happened to Maywood while not all that surprising does provide lessons for other cities to learn from including Riverside. What Riverside has in common with Maywood is that it also doesn't have an insurance carrier for litigation filed against it. There's been different accounts provided of what has happened to it. City Hall's position appears to be that the city is "self-insured" which is an indirect way of saying that the city pays off its own liabilities including settlements and jury verdicts. And since the city actually doesn't pay for anything, this means that monies generated by city residents that goes towards the city's revenue streams provide payment that an insurance company does not on these lawsuits.

Others have said that the city used to have an insurance carrier, including the plaintiff on one lawsuit that commanded a high six figure settlement from the city several years ago. She said that her own attorney told her that the money she received wouldn't be coming from an insurance carrier because the city's insurance policy related to such lawsuits had been canceled. Others have said that when the city did have an insurance carrier, the carrier told the city that it had to start fighting some of the lawsuits filed against it at trial and not keep settling them all. Obviously the full story behind the fate of the city's insurance carrier as well as its current status of apparently being self-insured is a complicated one. But the city has had numerous claims for damages, labor grievances and lawsuits associated with different forms of allegations both in and outside of its workplace filed against it. In claims involving the police department alone, the city has received at least $25 million (an estimate because some claims included unspecified damages) worth in just under two years.

Riverside's also attracted many labor grievances, claims for damages and lawsuits and has paid out settlements and verdicts on these lawsuits. The Human Resources Board tried to obtain statistical information on lawsuits filed by city employees and was stymied in its attempts by both the city manager and city attorney's offices. And after some of the cases which have come to light, it's easy to see why even though there's no legal reason why the Human Resources Board shouldn't have access to this data. As for the other excuse being that the examination of such statistical data is outside the purview of the board's role and responsibilities, those who make it need to go back and read the municipal code which outlines the role and responsibilities that govern the Human Resources Board. But why is the city engaging in so many suspicious labor practices including violations that lead to lawsuits to redress them which ultimately lead to the city residents picking up the tabs? Why can't the city just honor fair labor practices involving its workforce in the first place? Because if that was what it was doing, the city wouldn't either be losing or settling these cases, most likely to either not lose them or to avoid any embarrassment to it in the public arena inside a courtroom.

But while Riverside's not Maywood, there's some interesting lessons to be learned with what's happening in what could have been the second city in the state to be placed under a consent decree (which is moot now) by the city who preceded it.

What's Behind Councilwoman Nancy Hart's Mysterious Invocation?

Okay, is just me or did anyone else out there receive inquiries about the invocation given by Councilwoman Nancy Hart's invocation at the June 22 city council meeting's evening session? She made some comments about seeking guidance from her unnamed higher power about whether the timing is right for the city to make financial decisions about some expensive items coming up for vote in future agendas. She appeared somewhat vague in terms of what these expensive items would be. They can't be part of the city's annual 2010-11 budget because that's been approved and passed already and the fiscal year starts next week. But some have mentioned that the mysterious items that Hart could have been praying for spiritual guidance about may have to do with earlier comments made in the Press Enterprise article about Brad Hudson's five year anniversary with Riverside about Riverside Renaissance2 or Riverside Renaissance: the sequel as it has also been called.

I find those references along with Hart's comments to be quite puzzling. Because the city still hasn't completed its first Renaissance and it's already planning on starting a second round? The only reason to do so would be because it's exhausted its financial revenue sources for the first renaissance so it's leaving it uncompleted and moving on to Renaissance 2 which might have newer streams of funding sources the city could tap into allegedly for the purposes of launching another renaissance. Questions have been brought to my attention about the first Renaissance and problems associated with it and its funding sources so it seems premature to start off on Riverside Renaissance 2.

Besides, history doesn't allow more than one "renaissance" during a 500 year period. But at any rate, hopefully Hart can provide more clarity on her mysterious comments during her next invocation at a city council meeting.

Alvord Unified School District cut two school resource officers from its roster due to budget constraints within the district's depressed financial condition.

There's been news published here about the Riverside County Superior Court's decision to impose new fees for online searches through its records. Now Press Enterprise columnist, Dan Bernstein has informed his readers that the Sheriff's Department has unveiled its own fee schedules.

Bernstein's colleague from San Berdoo County, Cassie MacDuff writes that every Riverside County ballot needs to be counted. As everyone must know by now, the Voters' Registrar of Riverside County totally botched the recent June elections at first by experiencing long delays at reporting on county elections including those for both the district attorney and sheriff positions. Then news broke of over 100,000 ballots not being counted which was reduced somehow to a mere 12,500 which weren't counted because the registrar's office botched their delivery and receipt. Voters shouldn't have their access to the democratic process jeopardized due to incompetence on the part of those encharged with the responsibility of receiving and counting those votes.

An insider in the Riverside County District Attorney's office explains why he supported Paul Zellerbach who won the election and the job.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

The politicos endorsed Pacheco because they were afraid if they did not back him, once Pacheco won, he would use the resources of the DA's office and law enforcement to get even with his political enemies. In Pacheco's worldview, if you were not a supporter, you were an enemy, period. Prior to the June election, Pacheco looked unbeatable; he had a $450,000 election fund, he had all the endorsements of law enforcement and he was the incumbent.

It was no wonder almost every elected official publicly endorsed Pacheco.

What the public did not know was that these same officials and law enforcement types came up to members of Judge Paul Zellerbach's campaign and told us they were going to vote for Zellerbach and that they hoped he would win. They freely told us they feared the political backlash from Pacheco if they did not endorse him. However, these politicians bade us "good luck," and stated they would be voting for Zellerbach.

Questions Raised in Fatal Shooting By Security Guard

The shooting of a man by a security guard in a Canyon Crest apartment complex has already been cleared publicly by the Riverside Police Department even as it still is asking for information. But while the police department might not be asking many questions given that its purview is solely based on whether criminal laws were violated, many people have been asking questions about the tactics used by the security guard in this case, not to mention his relatively young age and most likely, scant experience level. The issue of security guards and their authorization and training in terms of use of force including lethal force is contentious in part because the qualifications and expectations of security guards spans a large continuum from those who are unarmed and instructed mainly to observe and call for assistance as needed to those who are de facto private police officers. And what kind of authority do even armed security guards hold in situations when they encounter anyone engaging in criminal conduct or suspected of it? There's state licensing and gun permit processes but since the field of providing security covers such diverse ground, is there any standardization?

Are there any performance standards that can cover such a breadth of job requirements? Are there any standards, i.e. similar to state requirements like POST? Are the hiring standards for those who carry weapons including guns as stringent as those for law enforcement? Including background, as the murder case of Teak Dyer highlighted, not to mention the murder spree of this guy both alone and with his cousin in the 1970s when they committed the Hillside Stranglings. Dyer was a friend of one of my siblings when she was alive and the daughter of a friend of my family's was a victim of the Hillside Stranglers so I begin asking questions about the hiring practices of security guards while much younger especially after Bianchi was finally caught out of state after luring two women to their deaths while working as a guard up there.

But even when it comes to smaller cities and towns, there's been struggles with determining the proper age for hiring and training police officers with most large agencies hiring men and women who are 21 or older. That's not the case in smaller jurisdictions where officers as young as 18 or 19 have been hired and not without experiencing problems because of questions about whether individuals of that age are emotionally and cognitively mature (and both include judgment skills) enough to handle the job. One 19 year old man in Wisconsin actually held two law enforcement jobs, one in a small city, the other county and the issues of age came to light after this man shot and killed a half dozen individuals including an ex-girlfriend at a party when he was 20.

There are probably good reasons why most police officers are at least in their early twenties and not their late teens and maybe these provide good reasons to exercise care on whether to hire armed security guards in these lower age ranges as well. A 19 year old security guard could not possibly have much experience on the job, maybe a year? And in many police departments like Riverside's, new officers undergo extensive training including evaluation and supervision by more experienced training officers and supervisors even before they are allowed to perform solo on their work shifts. Police officers particularly probational officers or rookies are by design subject to oversight by their departments including during their developmental phases.

Do security guards have similar backgrounds when they start out and at least for the ones carrying firearms which are accompanied by the authorization to use lethal force on the job, should they?

This seems to be a critical incident where issues such as these and others can be more thoroughly examined to determine if any changes should be made in how this industry conducts its business.

No City Council Meeting Next Week

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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

March 27, 2007: The Turning Point for the RPD and River City

“These guys don’t care…”

---Former Chief Russ Leach about his bosses, City Manager Brad Hudson and Asst. City Manager Tom DeSantis

“This is our city. Let’s make Riverside a better place for everyone. Together we can’t lose.”

---email sent out to community leadership about March 27, 2007

“We believe that having “at will” contracted positions at this level of the police department management is dangerous and bad for the community. Dangerous, because it has the potential to make a police department completely dysfunctional and may hamper the department’s ability to conduct objective investigations. Out of all the department heads in the City, the Chief of Police should have the highest level of autonomy, when it involves running his/her police department."

----RPAA President Darryl Hurt, March 27, 2007

Riverside City Hall
City Council Chambers
March 27, 2007 6:30 pm.

"I don't recall anything. It was a nightmare."

---Former Riverside Police Chief Russ Leach in his testimony about March 27, 2007 who must have felt worse when he discovered that life was but a dream.

When elected officials walked into Riverside’s City Hall to convene at their weekly city council meeting, they might have been surprised to see hundreds of men and women sitting in the chairs and standing in the aisles and in the back of the chambers. In fact, more people spilled outside of the building into the open area between the building which houses the chamber and the main City Hall. Many individuals who congregated at the city council meeting that evening were members of both the Riverside Police Officers’ Association and the Riverside Police Administrators’ Association but there were community leaders there as well.

Like many people who attended that meeting, I remember that day very well. I had received news about the situation earlier that week and I had expressed my concern to the city council and mayor via an email sent out to them and to Brad Hudson and he had kindly responded. And then he had come up to me quickly when I entered the chambers and told me to ignore his email and that the process of making upper management police personnel "at will" couldn't be done and his clarification on the matter was very helpful.

Before anyone could speak during public comment on this item and many people had appeared to do just that, elected officials, city management employees and even then Police Chief Russ Leach stood up to address the packed room and give speeches essentially trying to head people off at the pass. To try to tell people there that this was much ado about nothing. That the city manager's office wasn't really trying to undermine the chief's authority over his direct management staff.

So one by one, the speeches began.

Leach opened up his speech by saying that he was surprised that he was the center of all this fuss because he was just minding his own business two weeks ago and then here he was, which when you think about it, is a rather odd statement by a police chief who's active in running a department. And if he had been, then he would have most definitely seen this controversy from far away but he made it appear in his comments that it had been news to him. He continued speaking but he never really addressed the topic at hand except to say that there was a "miscommunication a while ago" but that he was committed to speak loudly and clearly for the police department. Unfortunately, that's not the topic that most people there wanted him to address as the department's head.

He talked a lot about the department, the crime rate, even shaving off his mustache but very little on the actual issues that had brought the men and women in blue as he called them down to the city council meetings in such large numbers. And though he tried to say loudly and clearly that he was in charge of the police department, that was really the day it became loud and clear to most people that in fact, he really had little authority over the police department at all. And it was his own words that he communicated this reality through to his employees sitting and standing in front of him. At the time, his employers were standing or sitting behind him and several individuals on the dais were actively involved in even the police department's day to day operations, let alone its management. Both his employers and employees could send him packing but for his employers to do so would take many fewer votes.

It was also abundantly clear that while the city management had allowed Leach to take the stage to address the audience including many of his employees, they had him on a tight leash there as well.

Because while this drama had been taking place in public, behind the scenes, the city management was busy acquiring all its police toys and had put Leach in the role of having to explain a highly questionable firearms sale involving the city management employees and his department. You had city management employees decking themselves out like law enforcement officers, "several" city officials getting cold plated cars. And rumors of City Attorney Gregory Priamos rolling into a major incident with emergency lights on his city owned vehicle. Everyone denied knowledge of everything later on. Including when Hudson testified that he had no idea whether his city-issued Toyota Highlander had been cold plated although interestingly enough, a document detailing the list of city owned vehicles to be cold plated had a Toyota Highlander at the top of the list. Coincidence, definitely.

But it would seem to most people that the police department had many different people playing chief running around with their guns, their cold plated vehicles, their sirens and even badges. Some people think this is all a big joke or no big deal and maybe to those who associate with the people in power who have acquired this equipment to use to exert authority it isn't, but if the average person engaged in this behavior, they might be arrested for impersonating a police officer. None of these individuals were, though several were investigated for creating badges and trying to acquire cold plates not to mention the highly questionable weapons exchange but they were allowed to first, correct their legal violations and then turn around and tell people that they didn't break the law but that when it was pointed out that they did, they remedied the situation immediately. Then they hid their actions, even going as far as to try to use tax payer money to pay two lieutenants not to come to work, but as they discovered, the truth has a way of coming to light after all.

And that a police department with many chiefs at its helm can actually wind up with none.

[This is the list of city owned cars which were sent to be cold plated. It's difficult to read but if you click the photo, you'll find at the top of the list is a Toyota Highlander which happened to be the same make of car assigned to Hudson from the city yard fleet.]

What was interesting about the cold plate scandal is how it came down to a "he said, he said and who committed perjury" situation because they were all under sworn oath to tell the truth during their depositions. But there's one method to decide who told who to cold plate their vehicles and that's to do a simple survey. During Leach's nearly decade long tenure as chief, he served under at least five different city managers and several assistant city managers as well. You would think that if it were Leach telling everyone to get cold plates that he would have told the others including Larry Paulson, George Carvalho, Penny Culbreath Graft, Tom Evans and Jim Smith for example, to rush out and sign up for cold plates as well. Did any of these prior city management employees use cold plates on their vehicles?

Or was it just the latest group of city management employees and an elected official or two? If the answer to this question is yes, then you have your answer to who's telling the truth under oath or in news articles and who is not.

So for those who didn't know, March 27, 2007 was the day it should have been known that . Leach did hint that the city management had been trying to get the department to conduct administrative investigations against Lts. Tim Bacon and Darryl Hurt after they had been involved in researching what later became the badges, guns and cold plates scandals when they came to light. If what Leach testified to is valid, then apparently the city management employees believed that it was okay to violate the laws, not okay when it came to light and just perfect to investigate those who discovered that misconduct. That whether from accepting responsibility for its own actions and addressing them, the city management could instead try to use its authority and its energy to seek out those who exposed their deeds and punish them. As they allegedly tried to do with both Bacon and Hurt. Pay attention to the adage of punishing the messenger for the message because it's from an old playbook used by the police department and City Hall involving city employees. And city residents should be aware of this as well because of the enormous expenditures from revenues that are used to either litigate lawsuits filed by the city's labor force or pay them off whether by settlement which happens most of the time, or occasionally through the embarrassment of trial.

Leach opted out of making the unveiling of this questionable and illegal conduct by individuals at City Hall, "a full blown internal thing" and instead just focused on responding to the State Attorney General's criminal division through a series of correspondences with that office on the badges and guns incidents.

When River City's Promoting, Why's Leach in...DC?

Leach's deposition testimony is very interesting not to mention troubling as in it, he said that he had actually been in the Bull Feathers in Washington, D.C. when he first heard about the move to make two of his top management personnel "at will". Meaning that this decision had essentially been made by Hudson and DeSantis when he had been thousands of miles away. He testified that he chose to promote both the assistant and deputy chiefs but appeared to have little recall of either the details or time lines of both promotions.

But he testified that when he realized that the upper police management personnel would be serving not at his will but would be "at will" to the city management, he didn't like that much.

(excerpt, Leach)

"I sort of thought we were going that way. We're already that way, actually, now becauswe Esquivel's permanent rank is captain and DeLaRosa's permanent rank is captain. I dcan always reduce them to captain if I want. So I thought we were sort of solidifying that process, when it turns out they were taking a different direction. And this at-will status would be the city manager's office. So therefore, I couldn't support that because I'm their boss, essentially, but I'm not their boss because they would end up working directly for the city manager's office. So that's sort of where we parted company on that particular issue."

But it was even more serious than that, because the two employees would not only be "at will" at their appointed positions in upper management, they would be "at will" period, meaning that they would be surrendering their labor rights associated with their union affiliation which meant that they could be fired by the city management without cause or reason. So essentially, you might have a police chief who is "at will" to Hudson but you'd have his management personnel be "at will" employees to him as well. So essentially all three employees would be answerable to him which enables Hudson and DeSantis to maintain a vigorous hold on the reins of the police department even during times that Leach may have been in disagreement with his bosses.

If he was stubborn, they could just bypass him and go straight to his management personnel and they could have his own management personnel report back to them on someone who in more ordinary circumstances, you know those used in other cities, be their own boss.

But this major shift in the power structure of the police department and its dynamic with City Hall had begun in several stages as rather innocuous wording in meeting agendas, harmless looking until you really started looking past those words and reading the subtext which the heads of labor unions are more likely to do because these issues are under their purview and play a significant role in their operations.

There had been attempts by the city council which had been blocked to change the language of classification or even the classification itself involving captain ranks and upper management appointed positions like assistant and deputy chiefs.

The agenda item that caused the controversy only appeared on an earlier draft of the meeting's agenda, under item #20 that had been submitted through the city manager's office through then administrative analyst Jeremy Hammond.

[A copy of the "tentative" agenda created at a meeting of mayor, mayor pro tem and staff which took place several days before the posting of the "final" agenda on Friday, March 23, 2007.]

[At the bottom of the page, is text that was included for "tentative" agenda item #20 which was submitted by Human Resources employee, Justin Hammond that was to have created "at will" upper management positions. It was subsequently removed and not included on the final agenda for the meeting on March 27.]

So a bunch of people from different places went up and spoke on the issue, from different perspectives after City Hall and its servants had tried to cut off everyone at the pass with how the whole incident had been a "miscommunication." Many members of both police unions had hoped that there would be some kind of confrontation with Leach who was said to be very pissed off with Hudson over the promotions and his boss, Hudson but it never happened. What many thought would be a bang proved but a whimper. There would be a number of anticipated standoffs between Leach and his bosses over the leadership of the police department which would never take place. But what happened after the March 2007 confrontation at City Hall became a turning point for the department and not in a good way.

Not long after the "at will" brouhaha died down, Hudson issued Leach a huge salary increase for being the chief. Well the chief under the department's real chief anyway and on that date, the leadership of the police department had been effectively sold to Hudson and DeSantis.

From that point on, Hudson and DeSantis were able to run the department without any noise from their employee and looking back after the incidents which have unfolded during the past several months, it's clear what kind of grade they should receive for their diligent efforts.

And it's not a passing grade. During the elections to be held next June for four council members, the voters will have the opportunity at the polls to issue them grades as well.

The Mystery of the Disappearing "At Will" Contracts

Being a fan while growing up of Nancy Drew mystery novels, it has a way of shaping how what's going on in Riverside can be examined due largely to the fact that so many questions remain unanswered about the shenanigans involving City Hall and the upper levels of the police department. It couldn't hurt to have Nancy Drew, her pals George or Bess or even that guy Ned looking into these unanswered questions and unresolved issues and assigning them an appropriate title, including the mystery of the disappearing "at will" contracts. Okay, so it's not the secret of the old clock or the hidden staircase or even the whole Lilac Inn caper but someone's just got to get to the bottom of how city employees were able to sign contracts which must have existed in hard copy form at the time but apparently *poof* disappeared not long afterward.

How do things like that just happen? Is there a vortex inside City Hall where physical documents just wander into them and then voila, vanish in thin air? If so, there needs to be a scientific investigation right now to look into City Hall's own version of the Bermuda Triangle and fix it immediately through a seance or whatever to stop even more documents from vanishing in thin air.

Like those missing contracts for example. The ones that have not been seen for over three years and counting.

Here's some initial data on this rather bizarre occurrence. The first to naturally seek out is Hudson who is the chief...administrator of the city. He'd probably provide a better answer except he's apparently suffering from some form of memory loss on this issue.

[City Manager Brad Hudson found himself in the midst of a firestorm in March 2007 after two upper management police employees had allegedly signed "at will" contracts, contracts which later disappeared. In his deposition, Hudson said he had no memory of signing any of the "at will" contracts involving the two high-ranking police management personnel but would have authorized it if he did remember it.]

Hudson as stated said in his deposition that he had no memory of signing either the contacts of either the new assistant chief, John DeLaRosa or the new Deputy Chief Pete Esquivel. But the excerpt of an email below that he wrote seemed to suggest that contracts were signed by his office just as they would normally be in that situation. The language used here seems clear, concise and his response well thought out and deliberative. Nothing flaky or vague about it at all that might result from acute memory loss.

“…At will positions typically pay slightly more than their regular position counterparts; consequently, employees often choose the at-will option. I believe that is the case in this instance. We currently have over 100 contract employees and my office has signed these contracts as required by City policy. Nothing special or unusual was done with respect to the recent contracts you reference….”

---Brad Hudson in a March 22, 2007 email

So if nothing special or unusual was done, then they must have followed the regular procedure for contracts getting drafted, reviewed and then signed by the various parties. His sentiment about people signing "at will" contracts was very enlightening given that for many people it seems that these two words are more scary than welcoming. Because although people might get a slight pay raise, they can also be fired much more easily than if they hadn't gone "at will". Incidentally, the email he responded to had been sent by myself and he had responded to me separately from a later response to the city council and mayor. He later told me at the meeting to ignore the emailed response and that the contracts weren't allowable according to the city attorney. Which in itself might appear "special" or "unusual" unless this is how the city's been doing business with more of its "at will" contracts. Still, it was helpful that he made that clarification and as it turned out, the contracts were apparently voided according to testimony.

But if so, what happened to the originals? If they were created and signed, they should still be in the public record and made available to anyone upon request in accordance with the state laws pertaining to the California Public Records Act.

Well before that, let's move on to the second in the chain of the command of the city and police department, DeSantis who will be identified by the badge that he never was able to possess.

[Asst. City Manager Tom DeSantis testified that he and Hudson met with DeLaRosa to discuss his "at will" contract with him. He said that the "at will" status gave the police chief the authority to actually fire the employee but then again, who has to approve all the police chief's firings?]

DeSantis testified that he and Hudson had met with at least one of the prospective "at will" employees and there's some mention of an earlier meeting with Leach. This wasn't long after DeSantis had allegedly blown up with another management employee, former Community Police Review Commission manager, Pedro Payne at a meeting and had ejected him just three weeks before Payne "resigned" which brought the city's definition of "at will" home for many people including those inside the police department. Meaning that if these employees who were "at will" to the city management office didn't bend to the will of that office's minions, then they would probably be releasing "resignation" letters of their own not long after.

But given that it's not clear whether the city management maintains a tight control of other powers traditionally exercised by Riverside's police chiefs such as hiring and firing, it's doubtful that the police chief such as Leach would have very much autonomy when it came to picking his own direct management staff if the city manager's office has to sign off on them. Something to keep in mind as being very critical now, given that a new police chief has been hired and will have to create his direct management staff. And given what's happened with Leach, how much autonomy will Sergio Diaz have to do just that? Who will really pick his management staff, he or the city manager's office?

Something to keep a very close eye on when he arrives in Riverside to take the helm on July 1.

But what was interesting to follow in the depositions was the reaction of one of the impacted employees, Pete Esquivel who had said his feelings had been hurt by what he felt was the reception to his promotion. The process involving it, he had already agreed to and according to him, he had sealed that agreement through signing a labor contract with the city manager's office.

[Then Deputy Chief Pete Esquivel testified that he had signed a contract to become an "at will" deputy chief, and that it had been sighed by Chief Russ Leach Hudson, City Attorney Gregory Priamos and an unidentified city clerk. He also testified that Hudson and DeSantis had told him that the contract had been "rescinded". Leach denied ever signing the contract in his own testimony.]

Esquivel had said that he had actually signed a contract when promoted to deputy chief that had "at will" terms that he had agreed to, and that had happened before all the controversy had arisen regarding his promotional status in regards to the "at will" situation. No one who spoke on the issue from any corner including the labor unions had actually criticized the promotional choices, just the process of the "at will" conversions to the positions themselves. Many vocally supported the choices but what's odd about this whole contract deal is the conflicting testimony about whether Leach had or had not signed Esquivel's contract. Esquivel testified that Leach had signed it in his presence. Leach denied ever signing either contract and added that he didn't believe there was a place for him to sign them.

But given all the gaps that Leach said he didn't recall including the time lines of either promotions, that brings into question how much role he played in either one.

[John DeLaRosa was also offered an "at will" contract to be assistant chief and accepted it but didn't testify about his own status or whether he had signed a contract.]

DeLaRosa who had been promoted to assistant chief in March 207 didn't testify on this issue or regarding his own promotion or whether or not he signed an "at will" contract though there's been statements by others indicating that he did. Like Esquivel's initial contact, his was voided after a period of controversy about the contracts being "at will".

[Former Deputy Chief Dave Dominguez was set to be promoted to an assistant chief position by Leach until it was vetoed by the city management, according to Leach's deposition. DeLaRosa had been promoted by Leach instead after the veto and apparently his promotion did pass the muster of DeSantis and Hudson.]

Dominguez was rumored to have been offered to go "at will" in the deputy chief position and had adamantly opposed it. If so, it was likely for valid reasons given that the city management had vetoed any suggestions by Leach of promoting him to assistant chief early on and had in fact, wanted to demote him. Dominguez was also alleged to have been included on a list of non-white management employees which included Art Alcaraz, Jim Smith and Tranda Drumwright to be targeted for termination, demotion or "resignation" and none of them are currently employed by the city.

Some individuals in the police labor unions sought to get the records released on this process including copies of the "at will" contracts signed by Esquivel and DeLaRosa. But the city initially told them they couldn't have access to them because they were "drafts" and then when challenged on that, the city had claimed they weren't just drafts (which are releasable under CPRA) but they were "preliminary drafts" without explaining why city management employees were pushing other management employees to sign "preliminary draft" contracts.

When pressed even further in the corner on this issue, the city finally produced the following excerpt of its written response to the CPRA request which is included below.

“Pursuant to Government Code 6253, the City of Riverside submits its response to your Public Records act request of April 27, 2007. In said request, you are seeking copies of any and all employment contracts for the position of Assistant Chief of Police and Deputy Chief Police entered into between representatives of the City of Riverside and John De La Rosa and Pete Esquivel.
Please be advised that there are no documents responsive to your request.”

---City Attorney Gregory Priamos, to a CPRA request by attorney Stephen H. Silver

Okay, now this is downright mysterious and this is precisely what is meant by the mystery of the disappearing "at will" contracts at City Hall which apparently is being impacted by some bizarre vortex or worm hole or something of that nature that is apparently sucking public documents right out of City Hall.

It's past time for Mayor Ron Loveridge to convene one of his special task forces to address the pressing issue of this vortex issue at City Hall. Perhaps then, these missing contracts can be found. And then the city could generate a new logo or slogan...Riverside: No Missing Paperwork here!

Thanks to the mayor in advance!

This incident might appear to be an isolated chapter in the history of both the city and police department but it was part of a pattern and practice of the dynamic which exists between City Hall and the police department. Many questions are being asked by city residents on what will be the situation involving Riverside's newest police chief and what it is that he will be allowed to do by individuals at City Hall like Hudson, DeSantis, Priamos and Councilman Steve Adams. Will he actually be a police chief who's autonomous or will he be a puppet?

And how long will it take for there to be an answer to that question?

Orange Street Station Update

The City Council and Mayor Ron Loveridge have received written notification via the leadership of the Riverside Police Officers' Association of the list of Skelly violations that former Det. Chris Lanzillo alleged took place at his hearing earlier this month. Lanzillo, the former president of the RPOA was given his notice of intent to terminate on June 4 along with former Lt. Leon Phillips. Shortly after, he submitted a written query through his attorney to Hudson asking that DeLaRosa be disqualified from hearing his Skelly due to conflict of interest since he's suing DeLarosa. Hudson denied this request and DeLaRosa did Lanzillo's Skelly hearing and terminated within 15 minutes of the end of the hearing.

Shortly after, Lanzillo filed a second claim for damages and had already filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court.

Phillips' Skelly hearing had been postponed but will be heard either at the end of this week or next week. The actual disciplinary action against him has not been either decided or enacted at this point in time.

Eight days until Diaz takes the helm of the police department and many individuals are counting every day until July 1. Two former employees of the department had some advice they passed along to other employees a while back on the importance of involvement in the things that matter in this city and of the responsibilities as well which are important to keep in mind if the department is to head in a different and healthier direction than it has been lately.

“Here at RPD, we have a proud tradition and coming to work used to be something you looked forward to doing. We believe you all deserve much better than acquiescing “at will” department heads; which is what you’ll get if Brad Hudson and his staff have a part in choosing a Chief. If you want to effect change in our department, then get involved. Educate yourself on what’s been happening in this City and police department since Brad Hudson and Tom DeSantis arrived. “Play along to get along” should never be the first consideration of police officers at any level of command when it comes to making decisions that are ethical and right.”

----Statement by former Lts Tim Bacon and Darryl Hurt, March 2010

Wi Fi Update

[The Wi Fi network has had some periodic slow performances and outages in the Northside Area on Iowa, related to the ongoing construction project involving Iowa and Columbia Streets near Hunter Park. AT&T will be running the network until around Sept. 12 when it will be transferred to the city for management and maintenance.]

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