For several months now, the City of Santa Ana has been aware of the fact the President of the Santa Ana Police Officers Association (SAPOA), Mr. Gerry Serrano, threatened to lead a vote of no-confidence against the Santa Ana Police Chief, David Valentin if he did not get what he wanted from the City. Indeed, Mr. Serrano stated that if he did not get what he wanted, he would “burn the City down” and bring this vote of no-confidence. This vote is his way of, “burning the City down”. Because this directly involves the police department and critically impacts public safety, the public must understand the outcome of this unwarranted vote is a result of the City holding Mr. Serrano, who is currently on paid administrative leave, accountable for his alleged actions, inappropriate influence and intimidation of City staff.
No police chief ever wants to be faced with a vote of no-confidence. It is a serious action meant to address significant deficiencies in the organization or in the Chief’s performance or leadership. That is absolutely not the case here. This vote is not based on actual legitimate reasons. Rather, it is a result of Mr. Serrano furthering his personal and political attack against the Chief.
The Chief, who has dedicated 31 years of his law enforcement career to the City, stated as follows in response to the outcome of this agenda-driven vote, “I will diligently and effectively continue to lead the dedicated women and men of this Department, in service to the 340,000 residents of Santa Ana. This unwarranted vote does not, and will not in any way, distract, disturb or deter me and the members of this Department from effectively delivering public safety services to the needs of the community we have been sworn to serve.”
Santa Ana Mayor Vicente Sarmiento stated, “Although I respect our officers’ opinions, and their right to collectively bargain for wages, benefits and workplace conditions, only the City Manager has the responsibility to decide who fills this essential public safety role. Police Chief Valentin has my full support and confidence. The community should rest assured that our police department will continue to operate professionally and ethically despite distractions that stem from a personal, rather than structural, problem.”
City Manager Kristine Ridge stated, “The Police Officers Association’s vote today is hardly an overwhelming display of opposition to Chief Valentin, but it is a sad day for the POA membership. It’s disappointing that the POA president’s desire for personal financial gain and use of misinformation have led to a vote that is not in the best interest of our police officers. I’m confident that in the future, the truth about these misstatements will come out. Furthermore, this vote is a union process that doesn’t result in any action by the City. I have complete faith in Chief Valentin’s leadership. I hope that we can move forward, heal the Santa Ana Police Department and focus on serving the residents of Santa Ana.”