June 22, 2024 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Column: The Santa Monica Police Officers Association Calls on the Members of the Public Safety Reform & Oversight Commission to Do Their Jobs

Submitted by the Santa Monica Police Officers Association

On February 2, 2021, Santa Monica City Council adopted an ordinance adding Santa Monica Municipal Code Chapter 2.50 to establish a Public Safety Reform and Oversight Commission (PSROC). The Santa Monica Police Officers Association (SMPOA) worked with city staff on crafting that ordinance and the SMPOA’s member officers have worked to cooperate with and support the commission since its inception. 

When the commission was formed, the SMPOA said, “The members of the Santa Monica Police Officers Association know that now is the time to reimagine our ideas about Public Safety.  We don’t just want to meet this moment, we want to lead it. We want our department to be a model of the kind of meaningful reform that can be achieved through community collaboration.” 

The SMPOA stands by that statement and embraces the kind of meaningful oversight and collaboration that can come from a positive working relationship with the PSROC. 

However, the SMPOA is disappointed by the lack of commitment to public service and disinterest shown by some commissioners in fulfilling their obligations as members of the PSROC. 

Members of the PSROC are required to complete training conducted by the Santa Monica Police Department. This training is meant to give commissioners an understanding of department practices and procedures as well as access to the public safety professionals to whom they are providing oversight, so that they gain a better perspective and understanding as they discharge their important function as commissioners. 

Despite numerous extensions on the deadline to complete this training since 2021, and the SMPD having made every accommodation that has been asked for as it relates to safety and fair access, some commissioners have simply refused to do it. These commissioners have publicly decried the training even after accepting it as a condition of their service. 

As public servants, we are deeply disappointed in this behavior and in the city staff members that have enabled it. Public service is a sacred duty and making a mockery of it to advance a personal agenda is an insult to the community. 

The public deserves accountability. In a democracy, we the people are entitled to it. Accountability relies on transparency. The public needs to know that its elected, appointed, and sworn leaders are held to ethical and professional standards that result from proper training as conditions of accepting their roles in service. Negligence in completing these requirements undermines public accountability and our most basic self-governing principles. 

The members of the SMPOA take the ongoing training we receive on a wide variety of issues including de-escalation, ethics, and implicit bias very seriously. It’s important for us to be the best public servants we can be. The members of the PSROC need to take their training obligations equally seriously so that they can gain the perspective they need and that is required of them to fulfill the promise they made to our community. Those who don’t wish to fulfill their obligations should step aside so that the PSROC can be comprised entirely of citizens committed to public service.

in Opinion
Related Posts

SM.a.r.t Column: The Up Zoning Scam (Part 1)

June 16, 2024

June 16, 2024

Over the last few years, the State of California has mandated a massive upzoning of cities to create capacity for...

SM.a.r.t. Column: Shape Up – On Steroids

June 9, 2024

June 9, 2024

Nine years ago, SMa.r.t wrote a series of articles addressing the adaptive re-use of existing structures. We titled one “Shape...

SM.a.r.t Column: The Challenge of Running a City When City Staff Have Different Priorities

June 2, 2024

June 2, 2024

Living in a city has its perks, but it can be a real headache when the folks running the show...

SM.a.r.t. Column: A Path to Affordable Ownership in Santa Monica

May 27, 2024

May 27, 2024

[Note: our guest author today is Andres Drobny, a former Professor of Economics at the University of London, the former...

SM.a.r.t. Column: A Path Forward for Santa Monica: Part II

May 19, 2024

May 19, 2024

As referenced in Part I of this article, the state’s use of faulty statistics and forceful legislation has left a...

SM.a.r.t. Column: A Path Forward for Santa Monica: Part I

May 12, 2024

May 12, 2024

To quickly summarize, California grapples with an ongoing housing crisis spurred by state implementation of over 100 policies and mandates...

SM.a.r.t. Column: Where Will Our Huddled Masses Sleep? Navigating California’s Affordable Housing Mandates

May 5, 2024

May 5, 2024

Just as Lady Liberty beckons the “huddled masses” of immigrants to America, cities like Santa Monica have an ethical obligation...

SM.a.r.t Column: SMCLC SPEAKS

April 28, 2024

April 28, 2024

SMart (Santa Monica Architects for a Responsible Tomorrow) periodically invites guest columnists who have made a significant contribution to the...

SM.a.r.t Column: Building Modern Boxes Lacks Identity

April 21, 2024

April 21, 2024

In the relentless pursuit of modernity, cities worldwide have witnessed the rise of so-called architectural marvels in the form of...

SM.a.r.t. Column: Santa Monica Needs Responsible Urban and Architectural Design

April 14, 2024

April 14, 2024

[SMa.r.t. note: Eight years ago, our highly esteemed and recently-passed colleague Ron Goldman documented his thoughts on the need for...

SM.a.r.t. Column: BLINK NOW!

April 7, 2024

April 7, 2024

Nine years ago, I wrote a column for SMa.r.t. titled SANTA MONICA: BEACH TOWN OR ‘DINGBAT’ CITY? (https://smdp.com/2015/05/09/santa-monica-beach-town-dingbat-city/)Here is the...

SM.a.r.t Column: ARB Courage (Part 2 of 2)

March 31, 2024

March 31, 2024

Last week we discussed the numerous flaws of the Gelson’s project as a perfect example of what not to do...

ARB Courage (Part 1 of 2)

March 24, 2024

March 24, 2024

On March 4, 2024, your ARB (Architectural Review Board) ruled in favor of the 521-unit Gelson’s Project at Ocean Park...

SM.a.r.t Column: Can California ARBs Balance Affordable Housing with Community Character in the Face of New Housing Laws?

March 17, 2024

March 17, 2024

By suggestion, I attended the March 4th ARB (Architectural Review Board) meeting that addressed the Gelson Lincoln Boulevard Project.  After...

S.M.a.r.t Column: On the Need for Safety

March 10, 2024

March 10, 2024

Earlier this week, in the dark pre-dawn hours, a pair of thugs covered in masks and hoodies burst into the...