Fullerton Council Rejects Police Outsourcing Analysis

Strong show of support for Fullerton Police as many attendees wear light blue "We Love Fullerton Police" T-shirts.

Fullerton’s City Council voted 3-2 against conducting a “preliminary analysis” to outsource the city’s policing.

Hundreds packed the meeting, with nearly unanimous support for the Fullerton Police Department. Police issues has been a paramount issue in Fullerton since the beating death of homeless man Kelly Thomas last year.

“Part of the idea of having the council taking charge is creating citizen involvement,” said Council Member Doug Chaffee, who sported a “We Love Fullerton Police” T-shirt. “We have to honor a contract that goes into the year 2014…It’s not just a money issue, it’s a part of us. It’s the whole fabric of the community that is at stake here.”

Mayor Pro Tem Bruce Whitaker, who supported going forward with study along with Council Member Travis Kiger as a possible cost-saving measure, said it was necessary to know the costs of policing and to look at other options to make the city fiscally solvent.

“Fullerton is known as the education community, and what we can’t be afraid of is information,” he said. “Sometimes you receive a quote, and it doesn’t mean you’re forced to buy it.”

He cited other cities in California like Vallejo and Stockton that have filed for bankruptcy, and said he did not want to go into that direction.

“It’s a disgrace to go into bankruptcy,” he said.

Before the vote, the Council heard from the public. An overwhelming number came out in favor for keeping local police control wearing the light blue “We Love Fullerton Police” T-shirts.

The Fullerton Police Officers Association encouraged supporters to attend the council meeting and even set up a website in support of the status quo.

Even those seeking justice for Kelly Thomas and who have criticized the performance of the police have supported keeping Fullerton Police Department, noting that having the Orange County Sheriff is far worse than reforming the department.

“They work 24 hours a day to protect me,” said resident Christine Walker. “They’re patrolling my streets to know that I’m safe, that their daughter’s safe. We took our city council back; don’t make us do it again.”

Activist Greg Diamond criticized council members for using this study as a matter of cutting costs, not about reforming the police department.

“When you talk about the heavy costs, you’re not talking about operating costs,” he said. “Fullerton anger was not on the police costs, but on the quality of police service.”

City Council candidate Jan Flory dared the current Council to put out the proposal.

“This campaign would be an absolute cruise if you put this out the tonight,” the former Council member said to thunderous applause. “I’m coming after you, Mr. Kiger, and you, Mr. Whitaker.”

Mayor Pro Tem Whitaker took offense at Flory’s statements as he was heckled by many in the audience.

Not all the public comments were in support of the Fullerton Police Department.

Resident Conrad Dewitt supported looking at other options for policing Fullerton, including the Orange County and Riverside County Sheriff’s Departments.

After the vote, Fullerton Police Officers Association President Barry Coffman said this was a “victory” for Fullerton police, businesses and residents.

“We’re going to continue to do a professional service as the city wants us to do,” he said. “It’s going to be a win-win situation for all of us.”


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