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on Aug 11, 2014
I hope the next police chief in East Palo Alto will be fully fluent in Spanish & appreciate that a huge number of people in EPA do not speak English. It should be a prerequisite for all police officers to speak Spanish too, as the community is majority Latino at this point. One of the things I have noticed about the police department here is that the communication (facebook, website, etc) is primarily English focused. Building a strong relationship with the community starts by speaking the same language! Ravenswood School district is 85% Latino as a point of reference.
Crime is down dramatically in East Palo Alto, and best of luck to the next police chief in maintaining the positive trend.
You don't need to be lation or fluent in spanish to make a difference in the community. He just needs to be able to connect with the community as a whole. When you focus on a set race or language you set up a set expectation.
Let's expect whom ever they hire be able to connect with the community as a whole.
Note to the person whose name = "EPA-IS-TOO-TO-BE-A-VIABLE-TOWN."
Per the census, East Palo Alto's population is about the same size as each of these other San Mateo County towns:
> Per the census, East Palo Alto's population is about the same
> size as each of these other San Mateo County towns:
Your data may be correct, but you shouldn't stop there. EPA is about 2.6 square miles in area. So--before we look at the population of a town, you also need to look at the area within its municipal boundaries. We need to look at the assessed value of its property base, and we need to look at its tax revenues. We need to look at it's ability to attract business.
It's probable that people who think that EPA is big enough to be viable have never bothered to look at all of these other variables.
And then there is the crime problem. Do any of these other towns have the crime problem--that often spills over to Palo Alto and Menlo Park? [Portion removed.]
Unless there is a wholesale reshaping of this town--EPA will always be too small to be viable.
Denese - if you want to solve and prevent crimes in EPA, being able to communicate effectively with the community should be a prerequisite. Imagine Palo Alto or Menlo Park with a a police chief that only speaks Spanish - it wouldn't work. EPA's population is majority Spanish speaking at this point, and communicating with this population is essential. I have neighbors who simply don't trust the police because they don't speak Spanish, and won't call in to crime hotlines as a result. Given how prevalent Spanish is in California, it would be surprising if the candidates do not already speak Spanish. I don't think asking for Spanish fluency is an impossible requirement. This will be a tough job on any number of levels, and best of luck to whoever gets the gig!
Denese and Mark - thank you both for your opinions. I appreciate both points of view. What do you both think of the actual candidates - have you heard anything about them that made you think there's one best suited for our city?
All 3 candidates seem qualified to step into the Chief's position in EPA. They each bring decades of experience, community policing knowledge, and a desire to get to know the community they'll be serving. The article did not mention the officers of the Department. Will the new Chief have the necessary resources to be successful ? Is the Department fully staffed? Do the officers have all of the equipment they need to do their jobs? What about the Department's budget? If the EPA has a healthy budget and a fully staffed police force, any one of the three candidates would be a good choice for the Chief's job. If there are challenges in budget or staffing, I recommend a candidate from a larger police agency.
I don't think being Spanish speaking should be a requirement for a police chief or police officer. I work with the public, I make an effort to communicate with people who speak other languages, but ultimately this is an English speaking country and the requirement should be the other way around.
I am also concerned with the new chief having the resources necessary to do the job. It doesn't matter who we hire as long as we have such a low number of officers and the equipment they need to do the job. With Chief Davis, it felt like the police department had their hand in everything. I like the community involvement, but I think the department needs to focus on themselves for a while.
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