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New Public Safety Board, medical marijuana, DUI checkpoints on neighborhood council’s agenda

More than 20 members of Police Chief Raul Quezada’s new Neighborhood Advisory Council spent the first 30 minutes of its monthly meeting Thursday evening discussing the city’s new Public Safety Advisory Board.Deputy Chief Julian Harvey, Chief Raul Quezada and Capt. Mark Cyprien

Board members spent the next hour at the Orange County Family Justice Center engaging police leaders in a Q&A on a number of issues, ranging from why police advertise DUI checkpoints to the legality of selling marijuana to garage burglaries.

Approved by the City Council Tuesday, the Public Safety Board (PSB) will add “another layer of transparency,” Quezada told the board.

For more than five years, the police department has worked with the Los Angeles Office of Independent Review to look at and make recommendations regarding policies and its handling of critical incidents, such as officer-involved shootings. Police officers also wear audio records and the police department is looking at video recorders.

Quezada said board will be comprised of nine city-manager appointed residents from every area of the city, and the board will work with OIR to review the police department’s budget, staffing and its handling of critical incidents.

Council members asked several questions about the new PSB: How can residents join? What’s the difference between this board and the Chief’s Advisory Board? Is the new board specific to Anaheim or is civilian review a trend in policing?

Residents can apply through the city manager’s office. Deputy Chief Julian Harvey encouraged residents to look for an ad in an upcoming edition of Anaheim Magazine. The PSB board differs from the chief’s advisory board in that it will review critical incidents and make public reports to the community on the police and fire departments’ performance and policies.

And while the new board is specific to Anaheim, Capt. Jarrett Young predicted civilian review will become the standard over the next decade.

“We don’t know the final format of what the board is going to look at,” Quezada said. “It’s going to support the police department and our mission so we can share more information with the larger community.”

Carmen Leahy and Karen Kules asked how they can get their neighbors more engaged in reporting crime. They said there had been about 12 garage burglaries in their neighborhood, most of which weren’t reported.

Quezada offered to come to their neighborhood and talk to residents, and Lt. Alex Orozco noted that a known gang member had been arrested for at least a few garage burglaries. Facebook and Anaheim Anytime are also good places to encourage neighbors to report crime.

One board member asked about medical marijuana shops. Quezada told him that shops can’t sell the drug in Anaheim.

Another board member shared that a Spanish-language radio station host had criticized a DUI checkpoint outside the Honda Center following a Spanish-language concert on Valentine’s Day.

Police officials explained how police leaders from throughout the county determine DUI checkpoints, based on traffic accidents and other data.

“That’s what it’s about,” said Lt. Tim Schmidt of the meeting. “This kind of dialogue.”