Welter to police chiefs: ‘Challenging yet exciting times’

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Chief Welter

To continue maintaining low crime rates, police leaders must not abandon proven crime prevention strategies – no matter the current fiscal challenges, Anaheim Police Chief John Welter said Tuesday.

His remarks kicked off the California Police Chiefs Association training symposium at Disneyland Hotel, and come as police leaders across the state struggle to fight crime with fewer resources.

Welter joined Gov. Jerry Brown and Attorney General Kamala Harris in paying tribute to the 11 officers in California who lost their lives in the line of duty in 2010.

Welter will also host a town hall meeting for police chiefs on Thursday. 

“Not only are we facing the toughest economic crisis since the Great Depression,” he said. “We’re also facing the release of thousands of felons into our communities – coupled with the possibility of reducing or eliminating State Parole.”

He described it as “a perfect storm on the horizon,” and urged elected leaders to find answers to the crisis while maintaining public safety.

“As a profession, we face challenging yet exciting times,” Welter said. “A true optimist would recognize the golden opportunity we have to move the police profession toward an entirely new model.

“As we lose police officers and professional civilian staff to budget cuts, it’s imperative that we train, equip and lead our communities in real crime prevention strategies,” he said. “Getting residents and business owners to do more than just report crime has to be a priority that can’t fall to the budget-cutting axe.”

He called for his colleagues to add more volunteers, focus on intelligence-led crime prevention and commit to more dynamic neighborhood and business watch programs.

“Ongoing development of strategies like intelligence-led policing and problem-oriented policing, coupled with a strong crime analysis component, result in more effective police deployments,” he said. “If we’re smarter about how we deploy, if we reduce repeat calls for service, if we do more to prevent crime, we can become more efficient and effective.”

To read an Associated Press article that highlights the governor’s comments at the symposium, click here.

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