Today, Councilmember David Penaloza and I have placed an item on the June 16 #SantaAna City Council agenda to direct staff to research the creation of a Police Oversight Commission for the City of Santa Ana – Municipal Government. I hope that this process will incorporate the best practices to create a commission that will help strengthen our community’s confidence and trust in our police and provide a valuable way for residents and businesses to give input into improving how our police department serves our community.
Iglesias has been calling for this reform for some time. Here is how she reacted to Bacerra’s message:
This is what I ALWAYS advocated for as a councilwoman. Unfortunately I was voted down by all of my colleagues. Why? because these 2 council members, bringing this up now, have their seat bought by the powerful and corrupt police union. These two want to take credit for bringing up this item. Ironically these two are beholden to the police union.
I wouldn’t be surprised that they already had the conversation with Gerry Serrano and Ernie Conde to control the set up of the oversight committee. Remember these are the same council members that did away with the Safety committee at the request of corrupt Gerry Serrano.
It is likely that Penaloza and Bacerra took action because their political party, the Democratic Party of Orange County, recently voted on a resolution in support of racial justice reform and accountability. That resolution included:
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Democratic Party of Orange County will require all candidates vying for endorsement to commit to enacting policies, within their respective office’s purview and within a year of being elected, that promote racial equity. Such commitments will include establishing police oversight commissions, de-escalation and racial bias training, re-evaluating use of force policies, adopting implicit bias curricula in schools, forming curricula and spaces for racial issue dialogue, expanding mental health resources for communities of color, addressing the school-to-prison pipeline, and other policies that substantively uplift racial minorities and promote racial equity.
THEREFORE, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Democratic Party of Orange County Central Committee will follow up with endorsed candidates in the 2021 calendar year to ensure endorsed elected officials have had good faith attempts to pass these priorities.
How will the Santa Ana Police Officers Association react to this renewed call for a Police Oversight Commission in Santa Ana? Will they now try to recall Penaloza and Bacerra for turning on them?
Here are a few comments about the SAPD and the need for more police oversight from a new article at Chispa:
The city of Santa Ana is well acquainted with police violence. Just last month, a video of two officers appearing to brutalize and harass an older man made the rounds on social media. City officials and the Police Department have yet to respond to the incident involving officers Bradley Sharp (#3327) and Ryan Bell (#3517), and body camera footage of the incident is not yet available to the public. Attempts to address the incident internally with the department will likely lead nowhere, and the family of this man will no doubt need to seek legal action.
Leading up to the latest set of events that place policing and police oversight at the top of the city’s (and nation’s) attention, came a 2019 series of police scorecards created by Campaign Zero (2), an organization supporting efforts to end police violence through research and data analysis. These scorecards rank 100 of the largest police departments in California and give them a grade on criteria like incidents of police brutality and cost per-year per-taxpayer to fund police departments.
For those of us who’ve been paying attention for years it’s no surprise that Santa Ana Police Department (SAPD) received the worst possible score. In receiving an “F” grade, SAPD ranked 92 out of 100 departments, putting it amongst the worst in the state.