Santa Ana Police Department
Advisory: Record Destruction Matter – Joint Acting City Manager / Police Chief Statement
STEVEN MENDOZA, Acting City Manager, City of Santa Ana
In my role as Acting City Manager I requested that we pull an item from the City Council agenda for the January 15, 2019 meeting that addressed authorization for destruction of some police records. My responsibilities as a professional are to ensure I have a thorough understanding of the matters coming before the City Council I serve, and in this case, there were a series of statewide matters that complicated the picture. Specifically, legislation that went into effect just 14-days prior (Senate Bill 1421) to the council meeting and a follow up statewide advisory from the Attorney General created a dynamic environment in which asking the council to authorize record destruction warranted further understanding.
Since pulling the agenda item, I have had additional conversations with our Police Chief and City Attorney, and I am now confident that destruction of these specific records is not only consistent with all legal requirements, but equally important, consistent with a routine record destruction policy that the City Council authorized in 2013 and has been actively used in the years since.
DAVID VALENTIN, Chief of Police, Santa Ana Police Department
Since 2017, the Santa Ana Police Department has made huge strides in transparency and public engagement. Creating and sustaining community trust are essential for our Department and the community we serve. We also take great pride in conducting best practices and defensible police actions in compliance with the law.
Record destruction is a routine process that all departments of public agencies commonly execute. The City Council has a strict policy on record destruction that has been in effect for nearly six years, and our request to have authorization to destroy records was guided by Council policy and not in response to any recently enacted legislation.
In our continued support of transparency, I have directed my staff to ensure that record retention and destruction activities strictly comply with the law and I am confident we are meeting all legal requirements. Additionally, I am working with the law enforcement agencies in Orange County and our District Attorney to develop best practices and standards to be both transparent with the public and fulfill our operational need to destroy outdated records; again, in compliance with the law and our well established City policy.