Gerry Serrano was reelected today as President of the Santa Ana Police Officers Association, the powerful union that represents Santa Ana police officers.
Is it a coincidence that the City of Santa Ana put up a post on their Facebook page today asking for our opinion about setting up a Police Oversight Commission? You can fill out the City of Santa Ana’s Police Oversight Commission survey here.
Serrano and the POA’s 10-member Board of Directors spent a small fortune in police union dues on political campaigns over the past few years. But this year’s City Council was a total disaster for the POA. The most anti-police Mayoral candidate, Vince Sarmiento, prevailed with a third of the total vote and the most liberal City Council candidates, Johnathan Ryan Hernandez, Jessie Lopez and Thai Viet Phan prevailed over their more conservative opposition.
Serrano and the POA are now staring down the barrel of a Police Oversight Commission that will happen sooner rather than later, due in great part to their abject failure in the local Santa Ana political races.
Serrano’s most egregious error was opposing Ward 5 City Councilman Juan Villegas – the only cop on the City Council. Villegas has worked for the O.C. Sheriff for over 30 years. But Villegas wisely opposed the $25M raise that the rest of the City Council gave the POA a couple years ago. So Serrano got his revenge, drafting an unknown candidate, Vic Mendez, to split the vote in Ward 5. However now Villegas will be replaced by Hernandez, a protégé of convicted felon Roman Reyna.
Here is what the City of Santa Ana has to say about Police Oversight Commissions:
While the definition varies by source, a police oversight commission is a form of oversight of law enforcement officer conduct. The purpose of these oversight systems is to improve law enforcement performance and accountability. A leading scholar, Samuel Walker, distilled best practices into a concise and practical list designed to facilitate police reform (Walker, 2005). These strategies are based on the 2001 Department of Justice report, Principles for Promoting Police Integrity. These include (a) use of force and other critical incident reporting; (b) open and accessible citizen complaint procedures; (c) early intervention systems; and (d) external citizen oversight.
Good luck with that Serrano!