Officials from Anaheim Police Department met with more 20 members of the community Thursday night for the first ever meeting of the “Chief’s Neighborhood Advisory Council.”
“Tonight is a very exciting night for us. This is the first type of meeting where we bring in members from throughout the community to talk to us and work out how best we can serve the city,” said Interim Police Chief Raul Quezada to open the meeting.
The conference started with introductions from APD’s command staff as each division commander gave personal information and summarized their responsibilities at the department.
“I’ve been here for about 32 years. Great city. Great department. I’m excited to see the great things we can accomplish together,” said Cpt. Bob Conklin, head of the investigative bureaus.
Members of the newly-formed council introduced themselves and spoke about the reasons why they were representing their neighborhood.
APD divided the city into four districts made up of 22 neighborhoods, each bringing unique challenges and concerns.
“If you would have closed your eyes while everyone spoke about their neighborhood, would you have thought it was one city being discussed?” Quezada asked. “You would have thought it was a bunch of cities, but it was just one. And we’re just one police department.”
Everyone invited Thursday night must have maintained consistent activity in their neighborhoods. Members of the council are also expected to complete a background investigation, go on multiple ride-alongs to observe different parts of the city, and complete the APD Public Awareness through Community Education (PACE) program.
In a brief interview after the meeting, Quezada spoke about how he envisions the group will improve communication between APD and its city.
“Recently, we have utilized statistics to decide where and how utilize our resources, and that’s been very effective up to a point. We also wanted to include first-hand accounts of what’s going on from the people surrounded by it,” he said. “It’ll also give people the opportunity to connect with, and learn from, each other on how to deal with the issues in their neighborhoods.”
The council will meet the third Thursday of every month – the night before the monthly Chief’s Advisory Board Meetings – where topics from meetings will be further discussed.
“Anaheim is an interesting city to work for because of the types of criminal activity that goes on,” said Quezada in closing the meeting. “You all bring different challenges to the meeting and we look forward to serving you even better now with the open communication that will go on in these meetings.”
While APD officials were excited about the turnout, they would like to double the number of participants. Anyone interested in joining the council can email Lt. Alex Orozco at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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