Advisory forum for airing Glendale police concerns, issues is disbanded
Nov 07, 2012 (Glendale News-Press - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
The Glendale Police Advisory Council, a forum for residents to bring their concerns, has disbanded, with officials citing sparse attendance.
The council's last scheduled meeting in August was canceled, but officials said they were mostly ill-attended or were frequented solely by City Hall gadflies.
"Unfortunately, many people seem to fear speaking to the police," Sharon Weisman -- a member of the larger Community-Police Partnership Advisory Committee -- said in an email Tuesday.
She and her colleagues voted unanimously in September to dissolve the advisory group, which was created in 2008 by former Police Chief Randy Adams as a venue for residents to bring complaints and make inquiries.
But since the group's inception, no significant complaints have been reported, said Glendale Police Chief Ron De Pompa said.
At some points, he said attendance was "nonexistent" and demonstrated a lack of need for the group.
Member Art Devine said he attended a few of the group's meetings, and "it was clear to me that, in spite of outreach efforts, there was no community interest in attending this forum."
While the group will no longer hold meetings, De Pompa said there are other ways for the public to air concerns.
Residents, he said, can speak during the oral communications period of City Council meetings and address the larger police committee during the public comment portion of their own hearings.
The public may also address concerns to any member of the Police Department for a formal complaint, De Pompa added. Concerns can be made via the Police Department website or by phone.
"Access to the Police Department has never been an issue," he said.
Looking forward, committee members and police administrators will focus on hosting additional town hall meetings, which officials said seem to attract better attendance and participation.
"It seems to be working very well and is filling the void," De Pompa said.
Community policing efforts, anti-crime events like the annual National Night Out, and neighborhood watch groups would also allow residents to interact with police, Weisman said.
"Those of us on [the committee] are approached by residents with problems with the police, and we bring them to the attention of the group and GPD leadership," she said in the email. "That seems to be the best we can do now."
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