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Since last summer’s civil unrest, police have taken significant steps

Interim Police Chief Raul Quezada

Interim Police Chief Raul Quezada

The message was clear: The Anaheim Police Department has made a number of big steps to improve access to information, relationships with neighborhoods and the accountability of its officers.

They’ve also made it easier for the public to provide feedback.

“Tell us what we’re doing right; tell us what we’re doing wrong,” said Interim Police Chief Raul Quezada at the Sept. 3 City Council meeting. “And tell us how we can work better together to reduce crime and form a better partnership.”

Quezada gave a detailed presentation on more than 30 enhancements to police policies, procedures and outreach since last summer’s civil unrest. The changes come after a yearlong effort that included more than 150 meetings between the police and community.

Among the highlights:

  • All uniformed officers must now wear digital audio recorders and the department will transition to having them wear video recorders by 2014.
  • Following officer-involved shootings, the District Attorney’s Office will deliver reports of its findings to families in person prior to making the reports public. They will also make the reports available in English and Spanish. The Police Department asked the District Attorney’s Office for the adjustment.
  • The Police Department is creating a neighborhood advisory board. Representatives will meet monthly with Quezada to discuss concerns and strengthen relationships.

The Police Department has also made it easier for citizens to make anonymous complaints on its website or by contacting one of Quezada’s advisory board members, whose information is also published on the police website.

Council members applauded the Police Department’s response.

“I just want to congratulate you and your command staff for stepping up and listening to the community and moving forward with some of the things they saw as needed,” Councilwoman Gail Eastman said.

The department has hired 13 new officers, as well as created community policing and community services teams. Those teams are also responsible for the department’s Gang Reduction and Interdiction Program, which will expand its gang prevention and education programs to 12 Anaheim schools.

Another big focus is outreach. The Police Department has started a “Coffee with a Cop” program and thus far has had 35 of them spread throughout the city. It has also added a community calendar to its website and encourages community members to join police officers at events. Its Cops4Kids and PACE Citizen Academy have gone mobile, and PACE is available in Spanish.

To watch the report, visit the city’s website and watch the meeting. Click here to read the report.