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Letter to the Editor: POLICE CITIZENS COMMISSION – SOLUTION LOOKING FOR A PROBLEM

Editor, Times-Advocate:

Even as I have watched the mayhem and terror on city streets across America, I felt secure knowing that I lived in Escondido, where our leaders along with our proactive and effective Police Department was protecting our city.  As I listened to the lunacy among Mayors and City Councils in Minneapolis, Portland, Seattle, and LA about taking away the tools of law enforcement, reducing budgets and in some cases, totally “Defunding the Police,” I knew that could never happen in Escondido. 

I was under the impression that the Mayor and City Council had the right vision for our town when it came to security and our Police Department.

That was all true until I read, in this publication, about efforts to micro-manage our Police Chief and his outstanding Police Department with a “Citizens Oversight Committee.” That was true until I realized that there are those who want to: Second guess the split second, life or death decisions made by our men and women in uniform; Control how officers are recruited, hired and trained; Have the Chief to apologize for keeping Escondido safe while La Mesa burned (?). That was true until I realized that with a Citizen’s Oversight Committee, too much of Chief Varso’s time would be spent answering to, explaining and placating a group of unelected people typically without expertise in law enforcement, rather than managing his excellent department and looking out for our safety.

So what’s broke with the EPD? Is there flagrant Police brutality in Escondido? I’ve not heard personally heard of any police brutality charges. Do we not have a good Police Chief? I’ve heard that our Chief is very positive, progressive and way ahead on the issues plaguing other departments around the county. Do we not have good police officers? I have seen these men and women around our town, acting with and treating people, including yours truly, with respect as they carry out their important duties. 

So, somebody, please explain to me, “What’s broke with the EPD and why do we need a Citizen’s Oversight Committee to bird-dog our Chief and his Cops?

Maybe what is broke is not the EPD. Maybe what is broke are elected officials who do not really support effective law enforcement. Maybe what is broke is that we have civic leaders who think our PD should be diminished rather than strengthened and supported.  Maybe these people need a new Zip Code; try these: 55111, 97035, 98101, and 90001.

Maybe what is broke is citizens of Escondido, like me, who are not paying attention to what is going on at City Hall, and should. 

Rather than wasting time on a Citizen Oversight Committee in worrying about who should be on it, how many should be on it, its by-laws and the shape of the meeting table, maybe we should concentrate on what additional resources are needed to make our PD an even a better protector of Escondido.

As the old saw goes, “If It Isn’t Broke, Don’t Fix It!”

GARY ARANT, Escondido 

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2 responses to “Letter to the Editor: POLICE CITIZENS COMMISSION – SOLUTION LOOKING FOR A PROBLEM”

  1. Robert Daumiller says:

    Mr. Arant has summed it up brilliantly. Do not let the camel’s nose in the tent. Until some true-proven need for oversight exists, no oversight other than the City Council doing it’s job to secure and assure public safety is required. If it fails to do so, get rid of the offenders. America has seen the results of PC mob induced management of law enforcement and it ain’t good. Keep politics out of law enforcement.

  2. Beni Martinez says:

    Mr Gary Arant. Your white privilege has you so blind to the systemic racism that exist in the Escondido PD for decades. The Citizens Oversight Committee goal is to keep accountable the actions of the police against the large Hispanic population of the city. If you got nothing to hide you got nothing to fear.I invite you become a volunteer. The city of Escondido is a powder keg waiting to explode. The Escondido PD has with the help of “ICE” agents, brutalized the Latino community making false arrest and torture inside the police station. Chief Varso, has been a little more progressive than former chief Carte, however we have a long way to go to bring trust back after many years of abuse. Maybe kind sir YOU should move to these zip codes 55111, 97035, 98101, and 90001. Perhaps you will live better at those places.

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