Letter to the Editor | City Staff and City Council Tried to Eviscerate the Powers of the Public Safety Commission

'If you are going to make people do a “use of force” training, then de-escalation training should be mandatory'

Letters to the Editor | SouthPasadenan.com News

City Attorney Highsmith, recently retired City Manager DeWolfe (who retired on September 12, 2020), Police Chief Ortiz and Public Safety Commission Subcommittee consisting of two City Councilmembers, tried to eviscerate the powers of the Public Safety Commission. So this was my public comment to PSC’s regular meeting agenda item #4:


I would like the commission to consist of seven members: men and women, people of color and someone with disabilities. We need a broad representation to ensure we have perspectives on different situations and how PD deals with different people. Our PD takes more than 1/3 of the city’s annual budget, thus, it merits input from a diverse group, free from cronyism of City Councilmembers.

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I don’t think a background in public safety should be a requirement. While it could be a benefit to have a little bit of understanding but it can also bias their opinions or provide their own justifications because they were used when they were in uniform.


I don’t think ride-alongs should be required. If you are going to make people do a “use of force” training, then de-escalation training should be mandatory. The goal is to resolve issues and not use force. What we need to evaluate is how quickly our PD uses force.  There should be a balance between policy training and de-escalation training.


PSC should be an independent advisory body free from the control of the city manager’s office and should be able to provide direct recommendation to the City Council.  PSC should not be bound or subject to the police chief’s directions, otherwise it defeats the true purpose of this commission.

– Evelyn G. Zneimer, South Pasadena Resident – District 1







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