Santa Paula Times

S.P. Police Management Audit: Oversight committee to continue

September 14, 2007
Santa Paula City Council

They’ve served for years and it looks like the citizens committee first appointed to oversee the 2003 management audit of the Santa Paula Police Department will stay on the job...if they would like to.

By Peggy KellySanta Paula TimesThey’ve served for years and it looks like the citizens committee first appointed to oversee the 2003 management audit of the Santa Paula Police Department will stay on the job...if they would like to.Committee members attended the Sept. 4 Council meeting to hear SPPD Chief Steve MacKinnon’s report on the 5-Year Strategic Plan first proposed in February 2006 that incorporates aspects of the Arroyo Associates Management Audit completed in January 2004.Councilman Bob Gonzales noted that “sometimes there are credibility issues with people that serve on committees...the members of this committee have interesting” backgrounds that validates both their interest and service.Gonzales said that committee member Bob Breyer, who addressed the Council following Chief MacKinnon’s presentation, is a retired prosecutor.City native Roger Brooks told the Council that he has always been interested in police work and has been in public service for “most of my career...I assure you that this audit has been implemented as much as it can be.”With a degree in criminology and a background as a private investigator and news reporter as well as working with the city to create the skatepark Marisue Eastlake noted that she was “very impressed with the dedication or our police officers...”Retired SPPD Captain Bill Saviers said he believes that there are other areas the committee can continue to help if needed.Bob Salas, who was unable to attend the meeting, is a retired Oxnard Police Officer who also worked for the DA’s Office said Gonzales.“I believe what Chief MacKinnon has done with the people on the committee really solidified” the process to date although Gonzales said he did have “some issues with the audit” including the lack of progress on hiring more officers and boosting salaries.But, “because you served it made the chief’s job easier,” he noted.
Councilman Ralph Fernandez said he would like the committee to continue: “I think it’s really important to have citizens’ groups” to act as sounding boards for ideas and offer input to the Council.Mayor Ray Luna suggested the perhaps the committee could meet twice-yearly as “I think it’s important to continue...”If the committee feels they have no more to contribute “ recommendation would be to extend an honorable discharge” to committee members who might prefer to end service said Vice-Mayor John Procter.“I don’t want to see it disbanded,” and the committee would have value has a line of Council communication said Luna.“From what I draw from the committees’ comments” is that they are attempting to be gracious about ending their duty, noted Councilman Dr. Gabino Aguirre.“At this point you’ve served a function but with all committees there comes a time” when the work is completed and “you’ve done an excellent job but I can’t really conceptualize a role for you...”Aguirre did suggest that the committee might want to discuss the issue with Chief MacKinnon.Strategic plans can be reformatted as they progress said Chief MacKinnon said he would welcome further committee input as necessary.City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz said that the committee might offer assistance to the upcoming Chamber of Commerce/Limoneira Co. fundraiser for public safety.“I see those as two different entities...the one you’re talking about is a feel good thing” whereas the committee had a specific function said Gonzales.Fernandez urged that the committee continue meeting every six months or as needed and Procter agreed but noted that “if any of the committee does not want to continue” they can contact the Council member that appointed them and “beg off...overall, you’ve done an incredible job.”