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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