Longmont Public Safety Chief Open Forum
Note: The following is the output of transcribing from a video recording. Although the transcription, which was done with software, is largely accurate, in some cases it is incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or [software] transcription errors. It is posted as an aid to understanding the proceedings at the meeting, but should not be treated as an authoritative record.
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Unknown Speaker 0:03
Anytime you should have an opportunity to have two cards, one that’s a white index card. These index cards are for questions that you would like for me to ask. Obviously, we don’t have enough time to probably get to everybody’s question, but I’d love to have a nice stack of them so that we can ask our candidates some of the community questions. The other thing you should have is a either a pastel index card or half sheet of paper. This is for feedback that you’d like to share with Harold Harold Domingo’s, our city manager is the hiring manager for this position, public safety chief. And so we would like to know what you think after the end of the the session today. So Robin, and Carmen, if you guys can raise your hands. Robin and Carmen have cards and they’re also collecting cards, so you don’t have to get up. There’ll be walking by to collect both kinds of cards. At the end of the session tonight. You’re also welcome to leave the pastel ones on any of the tables as you leave. Then raise your hand and get Carmen to help you out. That’s right. So that’s we’re gonna do here at the beginning. If you don’t have to cards, raise your hand. And keep it high until we get to you. Thank you. Yes, perfect. Excellent. Keep in mind, thank you. Robins come in. This is how we get our steps in. community forums. Robin says he needs one too. Yeah. Great. Okay, everybody have two cards? No. Robin, Susie still needs Yes. I mean, turn me my voice up a little bit. Got it. Yeah. Get into the microphone a little bit. Yeah. Thanks. I appreciate that feedback. Okay, and gentlemen, one of you has a microphone sitting on your chair, if you can go ahead and turn it on and do a quick check real quick. Give the channel a test one. Perfect. Test test one. Can you all hear them? Hey, all right. Very good. Thank you, Tim. And generally, folks, if you have any concerns, let us know now while we get started. And then we’ll go ahead and get going. All right, very good. As I have mentioned in some of our press that went out there, this is being live streamed not only on Channel 16, for Comcast, which is your government channel, but you didn’t know you had one of those. But channel 16 is your government channel we’re streaming this on Comcast as well as on the Longmont public media website. So for those who are watching from home, you will soon see something on the bottom of the screen letting you know how you can also provide feedback as part of this forum to repeat those instructions in just a second. All right. The other thing is that the facilities guys on his way to turn on the air conditioning. So yes, you can use your other card for a fan. All right, very good. Okay, we’ll go ahead and get started. My name is Sandy cedar. I’m the assistant city manager for the city of Longmont and I work with the shared services, that is 13 divisions that are everything from fleet services to it to HR, and communications. And so I’m glad to have worked for the city for over 20 years. And I’m glad to be part of this forum today. So as I mentioned, we’re asking you all to go ahead and put questions on cards, Carmen and Robin are gonna start walking down the aisles and grabbing those. And in the meantime, we have some community members that have submitted questions ahead of time. So we’re gonna go ahead and start with those. But first, I would love for you all to introduce yourself to the group if you didn’t have a chance out there. So I’m gonna start over here to my left, just go ahead and tell us a little bit what your name is, where you’re from, and a little bit about you.
Unknown Speaker 4:15
So Good evening. Thank you for the opportunity. My name is Michael Marino. I’m from just outside of DC in Prince George’s County, Maryland, where I’m the current assistant fire chief in operations have been doing that for almost 21 years now. And I’m very excited to be able to discuss these issues with you tonight and apply to be your public safety director. Thank you.
Unknown Speaker 4:36
Thank you. evening, everyone. My name is Ken Chavez and I am a Colorado native and I live in the Longmont area. I just recently retired after 42 years of public service in law enforcement, and now wish to contributed the safety of this community by serving y’all. You can go ahead and keep that one on that side.
Unknown Speaker 4:56
Good evening, Manny. How am I get a Colorado native? Hey, I’ve lived all over Colorado, Pueblo rocky for walsenburg. Springfield, and currently in Denver. I’m a 22 year member of the Denver Fire Department. I’ve held every rank from firefighter to division chief of fire prevention. And I look forward to having great conversation and look forward to the questions by the by the group. Thank you.
Unknown Speaker 5:23
Good evening. My name is Zack artists. I am from commerce, Georgia, where I serve as the chief of police and public safety director, finishing up my 23rd year in law enforcement. And it’s an honor and privilege to be with you tonight and look forward to taking on your questions.
Unknown Speaker 5:40
Good evening, everyone. My name is Dante Orlandi from Lancaster, Pennsylvania. And I gotta say this is great. I mean, I just I’ve never been a part of anything like this where the community comes out and asked questions of potential candidates. I mean, that’s a credit to this city. And to all of you. Thank you for your time for coming out here. Just a little bit about myself. I spent all my career in the Pennsylvania State Police. And I did everything from undercover work to criminal investigations to being an area commander, which is basically the chief of police of about 30 departments, with personnel of about 1500 people. So thank you, again, for being here. And looking forward to answering your questions.
Unknown Speaker 6:28
Great, thank you so much. Okay, so Carmen and Robyn, if you can go ahead and collect some cards and bring them just around to me as we go. We’ll go ahead and ask a couple questions that the community submitted ahead of time. So the way I’m going to do this, rather than ask one question and ask you all to repeat the exact same answer, you’re each going to get different questions to make it a little more interesting. So and I will probably just go down and back if that works for folks. Okay, so actually, we’re gonna start on this end. And your question is, what is your experience with community policing? And how would you engage the city of Longmont community in regard with areas of need, such as homelessness, mental health and substance abuse? We’ll start with an easy one. How about
Unknown Speaker 7:11
well, thank you for the question. My experience with community outreach is is varied. I look at it is can I can ask answer specifically, those questions, but I look at it is I work for you. We are your police department, we need to have clarity, openness. And the ability to listen to your needs. been involved with a number of community outreach programs from the county of Philadelphia, to Lancaster to reading reading has like the largest Dominican population in the country, I believe, or the state. So we had different community outreach programs for various organizations. And and I think the key is listening to the community, listening to what your needs are. And knowing that you have a voice, and that somebody cares, and is going to listen to what you have to say. And if we can take those suggestions and and make change, positive change with those. I mean, this is this is a great country that we live in. And what makes us great, and I know some of you have heard me say this before, is our diversity, whether we are from our different whether you male, female, black, white, Hispanic, the list goes on when you come from the country to city to when we make decisions, whether it’s a law enforcement decision, or it’s a social issue, we have this diverse group of people that we can get input from, and their experiences that that they have that are unique to them into where they grew up at. And we could take that information and make our community a better place. But but the the specific programs are the same as probably all of these gentlemen we’ve had throughout in most places throughout the country. And I probably talk more but I think my time might be limited.
Unknown Speaker 9:35
Thank you. Okay, the next question is describe your leadership style and why you’ve adopted that approach. Alright,
Unknown Speaker 9:44
thank you very much. When you when you talk about leadership, and we’ve had a lot of opportunity today to talk to a multitude of panels here within the city of Longmont. When you talk specifically about my leadership style my leadership style is I classify it as a servant leadership style. I feel that it’s my responsibility in charge of an organization, or department to help those around me to accomplish those goals and the needs that they have to meet those needs. We talked a lot about organizational charts. And if you’re familiar with an organizational chart, you usually have the chief or the director at the top of that organizational chart, I truly believe that organizational chart should be flipped around. So the chief is at the bottom. And it’s simply because the idea is that, because I’m in a position of authority, because I am the highest position, and I have the most responsibility, it also gives me the ability to help those around me to achieve what it is that they want to do. And so because I’ve been empowered and entrusted with that. And so when you talk about leadership styles, it is empowering those around you taking a team approach to solutions and problems and running an organization. What I tell my folks in the way that I’ve done it in my organization is I bring my command staff in, and we sit at a table, and we have honest and transparent conversations with each other. You know, a lot of times I recognize that I’m not the expert in everything, I don’t have all the answers. But I try to surround myself with individuals who know, are smarter than me and know things more than I do. And so when we have those conversations in my leadership, what I’ve done is I’ve afforded them the opportunity to come in and challenge me on my decisions challenged me on things that I’m doing, because that makes me a better person, and it makes the organization better. And what I’ve found that over the four, last four and a half years that I’ve worked at the city of commerce, we’ve been able to accomplish a lot of things but sitting down and having those transparent conversations. If any of you’ve ever worked in leadership in organizations, you understand that when you begin to surround yourself by individuals who always tell you how wonderful you are, and what a great job you’re doing. They’re not doing you any favors. They’re not doing you any any good. What they’re actually doing is they’re crippling you and they’re crippling the organization. And so today is I’ve talked to a lot of the employees of long line and citizens of Longmont, my leadership style is simply bring folks to the table, have honest and transparent conversations, and make the best decisions that we can to lead organizations forward to tackle the challenges and issues that we’re all facing. So I hope that answered your question. So thank you.
Unknown Speaker 12:10
Okay, the next question, in your opinion, what is the role of the public safety director? And how does it integrate with the different divisions fire, police, community health and resilience and communications as well as other departments within the city?
Unknown Speaker 12:26
Well, that’s, that’s a loaded question. It’s a mouthful. So the role of the public safety chief is you are representing police representing fire. You’re representing divisions of Office of Emergency Management, and they’re all vital for safety of our communities. And you’re also really a liaison between community groups, neighborhood groups, and the essence of what I’ve talked about today is community policing, as everybody is a community police officer, everybody has that duty to act, everybody has a duty to report. And together it is having the resources and the allies. And that’s where the public safety Chief, being me, is able to secure those partnerships to leverage those partnerships that the city of Longmont has, I believe that the city of Long White has over 150 partners or treatment providers. So we take advantage and we start looking for funding opportunities to better enhance equipment, safety of our personnel to provide that quality of service. And we talked a little bit about how do we maintain resiliency, while resiliency is that when you are out there on the frontlines responding day to day to calls, especially for those who are on the margin, those who have experienced trauma, it becomes traumatic to us ourselves. So we need to be able to take care of ourselves in order to take care of you. And one of the things that we struggle with as first responders and public safety is compassion, fatigue. And we take that home to our families, we take it home too, and we have that with our colleagues and interaction. And it could be detrimental. And it’s a cycle that we’re unable, never able to provide that quality of great customer service in public safety. So as a public safety Chief, you have to build those resiliency skills, and making sure that not only our community members who are community policing, but also our first responders are also given the tools. They have the access to support to resources, where they can start talking about strategies, how they effectively cope, and I’ve said this many, many times today is that the interactions and the actions that have taken place between public safety and those in a crisis is no longer behind a black curtain. And we have been witness to this over the past year. And so now the public is demanding a well rounded police officer, a well rounded firefighter who is versed in cultural responsiveness, emotional intelligence, are able to have solutions to problems that are very complex. I use the analogy that as a firefighter, we put the wet stuff on the red stuff. Well, the public wants more than that, as a public safety Chief, have to ensure that those under my leadership are given the tools to be successful. So they can be resilient. And that’s where you start leveraging resources, you start looking at funding for equipment. And that’s where a collaborative effort that comes from everybody in the community stakeholders, nonprofits, employee groups, the unions. And so I’ll leave it at that because I can go on all day and talk about this. But I want to be respectful. Everybody’s talking. Thank you.
Unknown Speaker 15:39
Thank you all for just doing this. It’s like a speed round of America’s Got Talent, right? And it’s, yeah. That’s thinking, okay. Fair enough. Okay. So for you, what do you think a safe city or town is?
Unknown Speaker 15:55
Well, to me, a safe city or town is a place where everyone feels that they can live in safety. They can live without fear. They can live with it equitable enforcement of the law, that they can raise their families, have careers, play, shop, and experience life in this environment. Without any fear of retaliation, the fear of being persecuted, or being discriminated against fear is a is a very tangible thing. And I’ve seen it not only in this country, but overseas. In my military service, I spent 36 years as a military officer in the color Army National Guard, with four tours overseas, three of them in Afghanistan and Iraq. And I watched firsthand people that lived in fear every single day, not knowing if they were going to live or survive the day, let alone the week. And to have fear in this country, which is was identified as being the safest, and the country where everybody wants to go to or wants to come and live at should be a place of safety. Without fear, or you can prosper it’s part of our natural heritage and part of our Constitution, that you can fulfill your dreams here in the United States, and in this community, specifically here in Longmont in my home state, and that’s important, if people don’t have that ability, and they don’t they have a fear, or there have limitations on where they can go and how they can aspire to. That is bad. And I would hope that it is a public service cheat that I could be looked at as an example of what people could aspire to that, hey, I’m a minority. And I could be just like that person get that job someday, I hope. Right? I’m a, I’m a young kid thinking about as I’m thinking about public service, I may, I don’t know if I want to go to the military, I don’t want to go to the fire department of the police to be a paramedic. But I want to have that ability to be able to dream and aspire to those roles. So a safe environment is encompassing for many different concepts. Not only physical safety, but emotional safety, career safety, and other safeties involving your family and the generations that come before you. And after you. That’s my concept. What is to be safe? Thank you.
Unknown Speaker 18:09
Okay, your question is, this is the tallest I’ve ever been human, you have to know this podium? How will you prioritize restorative justice in our community?
Unknown Speaker 18:22
Great question. So the prioritize of the priorities of any public safety organization, need to come from the community. And the legitimacy of any public safety organization comes from the community. restorative justice gives law enforcement, different tools to act in society rather than the criminal justice system. And that’s important, so that we can have a safer, more just society and apply the resources that we need to the issue. Longmont has done a lot of great work in innovating in community policing, and working towards non traditional assets other than crime and punishment for some of these behavioral health substance abuse issues. And that needs to continue because quite frankly, number one, it’s the right thing to do. Number two, it’s very cost effective. And number three, that’s what the community priorities that I’m hearing demand. You may ask why a fire chief wants to be the public safety director in Longmont and talk about restorative justice. In my background. I have worked for many, many years within Police Department innovating, sharing personnel between fire police, using resources more efficiently and effectively towards common good for the community. I’ve also run investigation units as a sworn officer with arson and bomb squad. So I have a lot a lot of law enforcement experience and holistic experience building cross functional teams, which really aligns with the public safety organization that long on has done. Thank you.
Unknown Speaker 20:11
Thank you. Good. We’re gonna stop for just a second. If you still have a white card that hasn’t been collected by someone, you want to go ahead and wave your hands up in the air. Make sure we catch him.
Unknown Speaker 20:23
Unknown Speaker 20:28
Robin joke. Good. Carmen’s. Got it. Thanks, Carmen. Okay. Okay. So we’re gonna start back over here. Both police and fire are currently running short staffed and admin staff is at a skeleton crew, how does a police or fire department avoid letting training fall through the cracks?
Unknown Speaker 20:50
Well, it’s a great question. You need to prioritize what are your priorities, these as a public safety organization is to serve all of you and the people outside this building? And how do we do that? How do I get to know your needs are how do I get to know how to handle a homeless person, or somebody that’s suffering from addiction problems? Oh comes from training, I just don’t get that knowledge. And training is important. It gives us the tools so that we can better serve you. If we, there’s there’s things that you can do and things that I’ve done in the past. So it’s not unique to be short handed in law enforcement or in fire departments. It’s not unique to have short handed or not enough money to do all the things that you want to do, we have some great people that have great ideas. But one of the things that always comes up is limited resources. And one of the things that we can’t afford to do is let training fall through the cracks. So one of the things that I’ve done is that I would mandate in our department, we would have roll call every morning at the start of every shift. And so that was an opportunity to provide training. Now it might be just a little short thing that was, you know, the hot topic of the day. Usually, Wednesdays in our scheduling was the heavy day, we had the most personnel available. So we would pick a topic out. And that would be the topic for Wednesday’s roll call and maybe a 10 minute training session on whatever it might be. It might be somebody that’s diabetic, and, and in arresting them for intoxication, because there’s similar things there how to handle mental crisis, people in crisis. And we would take those little snippets of information or training, and we would take that opportunity, because we’re doing roll call anyway, to do extra training. And that didn’t cost us any extra money. It didn’t cost any extra personnel. We did it. And we looked at what the needs were what, what what is important to keeping officers safe, what’s best to keep the community safe, and what are the best topics that we can present. We another thing that we used to do is we would have cameras command meetings. And that was another way of training commanders. So usually every Monday I would have all the commanders there, we would discuss what’s going on in the in the area for that for that week. And then that was also a time for training. Now, it might not be the same type of training that you’re thinking of for the first line supervisor, but was an opportunity to train the commanders so that the commanders understand what we’re, what our priorities are, our priorities are to serve, to protect and keep our officers safe. The end of the day, there’s a lot of things that you can do to one thing that I found in in law enforcement firefighters, is that we’re going to get the job done. We care about the community. It’s it’s not about us, it’s about you, and we’re going to get it done. And if we don’t have the money to to do that, to send somebody for outer service training, we’re going to do it in house. And we we can look for experts within to be able to to do additional training to make sure that we’ve we fit the needs of our training, and that training makes us better. And it reduces lawsuits. It reduces internal affairs investigations in it and it it increases public support and confidence in law enforcement. So I would I could talk more on this like everybody else, but it wouldn’t be fair. So I’ll end it there. Thank you. Thank you.
Unknown Speaker 25:13
Okay, the next question is also around training. What kind of training Do you have planned for your Longmont city employees that as it relates to interacting with people of different races and ethnicities and how you hold people accountable?
Unknown Speaker 25:25
Well, I believe that you start off with establishing a culture that embraces differences, if we look at Longmont, and its mission statement is to prove the quality of life for those that live here, those that work here, and those that didn’t visit here. And when you look at long month, as a collectively, you find the council’s 20 year vision is to create a world village that brings in folks from different parts of the community, the different parts of the world, Ahmad has a long history and tradition of diversity and cultural diversity. And so I think Longmont is already moving forward and embracing that is as we speak. And it comes down to when we look at community policing, and how we’re policing our community. You see, we don’t, it’s not something that we do. It’s something that we do with the community. It’s something about having those difficult and tough conversations to understand what it is that the community needs. Because when you serve a diverse community, it’s not one solution to the problem. Because each within our community, there are other sub communities. And each of those communities have needs and expectations from their public safety. And so it’s critical that we understand that the needs individually from those. So when you talk about what are we going to do internally, with only we’re going to have to have a culture to where we’re willing to have those conversations with community members about what it is that they need, and how we can better serve, we’re going to have to look at understanding our biases, to where we all struggle with biases, and how that affects our decision making. And come to understanding that we’re going to have to look at diversity training to try to understand the differences between each and every one of us. And so you’d have to look at a continue to look at opportunities to make and challenge the organization to meet the needs of the community. And doing that by training, education, and engagement with your community. So thanks. Thanks, Robin.
Unknown Speaker 27:37
Okay, your question is, please tell us about your approach in dealing with domestic violence in your community.
Unknown Speaker 27:45
So in the fire service, we usually encounter the aftermath of domestic violence. And when we come into a person’s home or easily there, because it’s coded as domestic violence, or the fire service would never really go in unless it’s not reported. And so my experience is that when I have come across domestic violence in my community, it’s usually what the police officer and is providing medical treatment, it’s providing that transport is providing that continuity of care, but then it ends. And so where it’s important in a community, that is recognizing those who are experiencing a crisis, it has to be that continuity of care, and talking with police officers who have responded to domestic violence. It is a very unique skill set. It’s not for every police officer, it’s not for every firefighter, and it takes a different approach for someone who’s a victim of domestic violence. In often, domestic violence is often a trigger of something else. mental illness can be a factor, substance abuse can be a factor. Being an addict can be a factor. So when you start looking at what’s a contributing factor to domestic violence, then you can start zooming zeroing in and having precise strategies on getting the right people to intervene. And I can speak for myself, I don’t have any skill set on other than to offer empathy, compassion, provide medical treatment for somebody who’s experiencing domestic violence. However, I do have the skill set of providing compassion, empathy, being able to help them in a form trauma approach that, you know, there are reasons why they may be nervous to speak with me as somebody in uniform. There may be reasons why they’re guarded, and they’re protecting know the abuser. So those are all things that you have to consider when you start looking of those who are victims of violence. And there are it’s not just domestic violence as a as a total category. There are subcategories of domestic violence. You know, how did it occur? Was it battery was a weapon used? We talked earlier today. About strangulation being something that’s on the rise. So I believe that my experience is more about mitigating the incident. And I think we’ve all talked about, that’s how we’re wired. But we really fail, in that we don’t have that continuity of care, we don’t really have that transition back into the community, we don’t have that continuity of care from treatment centers. And that’s where the importance of community policing is important that every member of the community should be able to have the confidence in reporting somebody who is a victim of domestic violence. And that’s where so that’s where we come up with mapping. And that’s what we come up with getting the right people to intervene.
Unknown Speaker 30:42
Thank you. Okay, your question is, what are your suggestions for handling homelessness or people who are not able to afford housing.
Unknown Speaker 30:55
Unfortunately, I’ve had a lot of experience with greatest concentration of that are homeless or houseless, they prefer sometimes he’s got never met.
Unknown Speaker 31:05
I’ve had to deal with hundreds and hundreds of people that are homeless in a very concentrated area. And one of the most populated areas, and
Unknown Speaker 31:15
there are many reasons for these situations. But in every single case, they must be treated with compassion and understanding and with dignity. And there’s many various different types of categories of people that are the first one to me, in my experience, that we deal with his wife some years, he’s someone that is temporarily homeless because of a quick financial situation, or a medical issue or losing a job. And they want to quickly get back on their feet. And maybe just a little bit of help, a little bit of compassion, a little bit of understanding, finding a family parking. And Allison, where are you? Good? Yeah, we want to do we, okay, yes, which will not be I can steer them toward assistance and help and get them off the street and out of a car, and back on their jobs back in medical care, whatever, then you have people that have substance abuse, they cannot break that cycle, they’ve lost everything, and now they’re on the street, and they’re hooked on crack on meth on heroin. They also need compassionate understanding, and you have to steer them toward treatment facilities and treatment programs. Officers oftentimes get calls on them because of the fact that they’re committing crimes. This is called homeowners calling, residents calling. So you have to treat with certain fashion and identify what’s going on with them and get them for these programs if you can. And it’s difficult, because as long as they stay in that area in that environment, they’ll keep that addiction cycle going and going, they need to be set somewhere else where they can get clean, get productive and break that cycle. And there’s also mental health issues for people that maybe because of addiction or mental health disease have not been treated for long periods of time. And they’ve debilitated and gone to this state, they’ve lost everything. And unfortunately, they’re on the street trying to survive day by day you see them, you talk to them, and they don’t make any sense or identify a mental health issue you’re bringing in. Long one has a great team called your core team, where you have a you have a mental health clinician, a paramedic, and a police officer to go on these mental health specifications, whether it’s claiming suicide, or having a crisis of winter. That applies with homelessness as well. I’m trying to get them stirred on. And then finally, the last fourth category that I’ve experienced, is with a group, that is what they have chosen. They have chosen to, unfortunately separate themselves from society’s rules and behaviors and they want to be hosts. They choose that as their lifestyle.
Unknown Speaker 33:47
And oftentimes, some are very pleasant their manner. Anybody has seen the movie, no man, let
Unknown Speaker 33:54
anybody said that very nice lady, they declared yourself I’m not homeless, I’m just houseless. I live in a band. And she’s peaceful in promise you obey for long. But then again, you have some other people that are homeless that I choose this and I’m going to live my way. And I’ll sleep where I want. And I’ll just do what I want, I’ll do what I want. And I don’t want to obey society’s rules.
Unknown Speaker 34:15
They have to be dealt with accordingly as well. So quickly identifying which category of homeless you have, and then appropriately steering them toward the right directions. And if needed, it may be appropriate to do criminal action. Because you also have to think about the considerations of the residents of the neighborhood businesses, public thoroughfares and parks, where people want to take their kids and not be accosted, or, you know, aggressively panhandle and let the court in a balancing act where everybody is treated with dignity and respect. Do we all have a responsibility whether we are Jeff Bezos, the richest man in America, or homeless and we’re off the main street,
Unknown Speaker 34:56
we all have to obey the law.
Unknown Speaker 35:00
Thank you. Before we go to the next question, we may be having an audio issue. Is it the microphone? It’s the power resolve. Oh, the power was off. Okay. Well, there we go. You all could hear him at home? Yeah.
Unknown Speaker 35:13
Okay. I tend to be that waste of time. Sorry. Hang on one second. I want to grab one. One more.
Unknown Speaker 35:25
Okay. Thank you. You all could hear him? Yes. Okay. So now now for people at home. We’ve got the microphone on. Okay, good. Okay. How do you plan to address the loud vehicles and speeding issues in Longmont?
Unknown Speaker 35:46
Hot Topic, right. So first, I think jumping to a criminal action is a little bit premature. And I would need to as the public safety director understand what has taken place before and what education has taken place and what community outreach has done on this program. It sounds like this is a recurring issue, and still needs to be addressed. So with community input, about addressing this and apply more patrol resources to this issue, this quality of life issue is important, because it’s important to the citizens, and that has been brought up to the level of the public safety director, quality of life issues, nuisance issues, quote unquote, nuisance issues are important. They they factor in into a livable community here in Longmont. And part of our responsibility in Longmont is to make it as livable as possible and bracing the values that we talked about. But there’s certainly increased enforcement measures that can be done. But we can also talk about education and outreach with our community partners to hopefully decrease that issue. Now, if that doesn’t work, then we have a law enforcement division who is capable of handling that situation with commercial with the enforcement action? And we’ll we’ll take a look at that.
Unknown Speaker 37:07
Thank you. You can leave the microphone on just in case. That’s okay. That everything in the room should be brand new. Okay, and cover here? How will you make the city safe for everyone?
Unknown Speaker 37:24
Thank you for the question. Making the community safe for everyone is is what our job is about?
Unknown Speaker 37:34
it. So hang on one second. Let’s make sure your microphones on. Can you hear me? Yeah, there we go. Yeah, it might have to be a little closer. There you go. Okay.
Unknown Speaker 37:44
Okay. question was how to keep the community safe.
Unknown Speaker 37:46
How will you make the city safe for everyone?
Unknown Speaker 37:49
Well, what we’ve done in the past is we did problems specific policing. So we would look at our our maps or where crimes were occurring. And we would deploy resources to those locations. I mean, it’s it’s it’s simple. I mean, you know, let me let me back up for a second. You got some outstanding candidates here. I mean, there, there’s, I think you’re really lucky to have these gentlemen up here. competing for this, this position, I had an opportunity to listen to them and talk to them. They’re gonna do a great job. This is easy stuff. How do you enforce that? It’s it’s law enforcement. It’s it’s putting your resources where they’re needed. If you have a construction burglary issue, you’re putting resources there, if there’s something in a certain community, you’re putting your resources there, it’s enforcing the law. Equally, equity equitably for all. It doesn’t matter, your race, your creed, your color, your condition. The law is for everyone, and we would enforce it equally without any disregard for for those affer mentioned things. We’re here to serve everyone and keep everyone safe in our community. Thank you. Thanks.
Unknown Speaker 39:12
Okay. What is the role of police and fire in long months community to build trust and real end relationships?
Unknown Speaker 39:25
Well, I think you just need to take a moment and just look at what long month has been doing over the probably the last 25 years under your former public safety Chief, Mike Butler and some of the programs that he’s instituted here to build community relations. And so when you look at what we’re doing and what Longmont has been doing with their lead programs, their core programs, their Angel programs, their liva programs, these programs are in the community working with the community to address quality of life issues. I believe was a partnership between boulder Longmont, as we were talking of homeless. This earlier, take next step or take one step that works to help steer folks out of dealing with stubborn sorry, that are struggling with homelessness to give them a pathway out. So Longmont is working in has been working for years to build community relations, both on the fire, and both on the police side, to continue to find the needs and the opportunities to better serve the community. If you want, if you’ll repeat it one more time, I want to make sure I touch on everything.
Unknown Speaker 40:33
What is the role of police and fire and long months community to build trust and relationships? Yeah.
Unknown Speaker 40:38
And I think that we’re doing that we’re building trust through our lead program that takes a low level offenders and diverts them away and gives them the opportunity to, to learn and change their act to the behavior, the core program that is helping recognize that mental health and substance abuse disorders do not need to be handled by the criminal justice system, the criminal justice system is not equipped. But we have resources here in this community that are prepared to take in help. We’re looking at the reduction in our core program, we look at reduction of the suicide rate by 50%. And that’s huge to look at that we’re looking at recidivism rate in our lead program. That is I think, around 44%, we’re seeing that 40 44% of those folks aren’t coming back into the system. And so because of those partnerships, and because of those programs, and because of what we’re doing the work it is, we’re seeing a difference here in Longmont. And so I think that’s how you build community trust you build community relations, is that you continue to find programs that meet the needs of the community that continues to improve the quality of life for all of our citizens. And so that Longmont becomes the place that people want to live, work and play. And as we move forward. Thank you.
Unknown Speaker 41:47
Thank you. This is a similar question. If you are selected as the chief safety officer, public safety Chief, how will you build trust in the LGBTQ community? And what is your real experience in this?
Unknown Speaker 42:01
Okay, so building trust, comes with transparency. It comes with effective communication. It’s inclusive messaging. And it is a right that each and every one of us whether we live in prosperous neighborhoods of Longmont, or we’re homeless, you have the right to have effective communication, and you have the right to have accessible access to information. So how to build that trust you and transparency is you have to be able to be accountable to each other. And for each other. Like I said earlier, I have a duty to act, you have a duty to act, you have a duty to report, we need to build trust and transparency by incentivizing What are we doing great in this city? How are groups on the margins? How are they receiving that quality of care? And so when I talk about the LGBTQ committee, and and for equity, it was about two years ago, when I was the head of fire prevention, and I was called into an office and I said, Chief, I need your help. I’m thinking okay, I think I’ve heard everything now and I’m thinking why can’t this individual, another chief not handle this incident? So he says, somebody just came forward and said that they are transvestite. Like, okay, so what do we do? So, I don’t know. That’s why I’m calling you. So I said, Okay, so the member who came forward says, I want to broadcast it to the department. And I said, slow down, let’s be methodical, let’s be strategic about this. And let’s do it right, because we have one shot at it, where we have the right message, we are going able to rally gather resources, and we’re able to bring in the community, we’re going to be able to bring in partners from public safety, Denver sheriff, Denver police, and we’re going to be able to come up with a model where we can embrace it and come up with programs. And we partnered with Human Resources Division we came up with came up with the training program. And that’s how we started to bridge that gap and open up that line of dialogue with our lgtb committee. I said this early on a couple of my panels. I came up here Sunday, my wife and I, and we wanted to be a part of the pride festivities. And that’s where it starts. It starts with the messaging from me, you see me out in in the community and interacting with everyone, including those on the margins and those in the LGBTQ committee. That’s my expectation, each and every one of the officers of public safety. And so, you know, I’ve been fortunate that I’ve mentioned this early, Manny’s kind of the catch all on Denver fire you want to represent representation at the LGBTQ annual breakfast call Manny, you want representation for Domestic violence at the Laci Latino safe house call Manny. So it is something that I believe that you have to be open, expansive. And you have to have shared leadership with members of your community members of your department. And that’s how you create change. And also it needs to be reinforced with being culturally responsive, and being gender responsive. And we aren’t, we have not had that training, at least where I come from, on how we start implementing and how we start providing that training. So it’s it’s a, it’s a, it’s a very strategic approach, but you have to be transparent, you have to have invite everyone at the seat have to have a seat at the table. You need to provide the education and training, you need to be accountable. And you also need to have faith in the processes, there needs to be administrative justice. So if there is misconduct, there are allegations. And I need to have faith that discipline, if necessary, is fair and consistent. If somebody is put on some kind of a stipulation and agreement for a training program, it has to be fair and consistent. But it should be fairly black and white. If there’s misconduct and administrative justice is necessary, we have to have faith in it in order to move forward. That’s how we start bridging that gap, that gap between public safety and those on the margins.
Unknown Speaker 46:17
Thank you. I see water coming your way. We’ll stop for just a second. So get to these water bottles.
Unknown Speaker 46:38
Unknown Speaker 46:43
Thank you. Okay, your question. So we’ve talked a little bit a little bit about our programs, the core and the lead programs, behavioral health is involved with almost half of our calls. And Longmont has a correspondent program, as we just talked about lead and Angel initiative, how will you enhance and expand those services.
Unknown Speaker 47:07
In order to enhance and expand those services, you have to take a look at resources, funding, training, equipment, and then staff to expand those capabilities. So it’s now maybe not just eight hours a day, but going to 16 2024 hours a day, but you require the staff, the resources, the qualifications, after training, and the capabilities, they’ll need cars, they’ll need radios, they’ll need training, they’ll need integration into the department’s access. So you expand those programs by taking the foundation of what you have so far. and expanding upon that by giving them the resources, the training and the things they need to expand in covered for more time for more people, more customers across the board. And it’s an important thing, we’ve seen that mental health issues have permeated a lot of problems that overlap into criminal actions. And their basis is mental health in nature. But often, it’s perceived by criminal actions that come to our attention through calls for service from the public, or businesses. So handling in the appropriate matters is very important. And then every single situation is not a criminal matter that requires a citation or an arrest. Because what those people need is treatment and understanding and compassion, to steer them in directions to give them the things they need. So they are alleviated from those mental health issues and can function better in society caused less crimes and calls for service and overall improved this the society and the community of Longmont.
Unknown Speaker 48:35
Thank you. Okay, here’s a question. Our school district works closely with our school resource officers SRS. And recently there’s been a lot of publicity about the removal of SRS, where do you stand on this?
Unknown Speaker 48:50
So I stand as the public safety director, I stand where the community stands. But I think in their cultural shift of law enforcement today, with 21st Century Policing, you see a shift of the warrior mentality to a guardian mentality. And I think that’s beneficial for the community in many, many aspects. Water, which is in our schools. So we need to make sure that we provide a safe learning environment in our schools, which obviously starts with physical safety, and emotional safety, that can be enhanced with law enforcement presence. In many cases. In In my case, I had a lot of law enforcement mentors to look up to very early as a child. And I think that’s positive for the community to have positive role models and to see themselves in the community in the public services, which we provide. So in so much as getting into the community, I think it is valuable to be in schools to provide both secured security and mentorship and vision to see see facility So as children can see themselves in the department, I understand that this is contentious in Longmont. And I’m not naive that I’m an outsider to Longmont. I think I have the knowledge and experience and abilities to navigate these issues. But it is a challenge for me to listen to the community on these issues, and is also an opportunity to bring fresh perspective as an outsider towards this issue. But I think in my experience, we’ve had a positive impact by having good police officers, good law enforcement professionals provide physical security and mentorship to youth that need it.
Unknown Speaker 50:39
Thanks. Okay. Well, that’s it for the easy questions. Just Just kidding. Okay. Ready? Okay. The one on noise, the noise complaints. Okay. Describe how you would respond to those who demand justice and view police as racist and bullies
Unknown Speaker 50:59
sitting down listening to what they have to say. Maybe they have a point. Maybe they’re misguided. Maybe they don’t understand criminal or or police procedure? I think it’s about getting their perspective and having an open line of communication, what are the issues? What, and and I think the best thing is is, you know, in in discussing them with them, I mean, I think it’s pretty simple. And I don’t want to get overly burdened and take 10 minutes to discuss it. I think, you know, in a nutshell, that would would be it. I mean, could you repeat that one more time just to make sure that I didn’t miss a part of that.
Unknown Speaker 51:45
Describe how you would respond to those who demand justice and view police’s racist and beliefs.
Unknown Speaker 51:52
meeting with them explaining how police procedures work, listening to what they have to say. And really just just going to repeat myself, just open to listening, and hopefully coming to some kind of consensus of why the actions that were taken were taken. Thank you. Thanks.
Unknown Speaker 52:16
This is a part B question. Please tell us how you would support your officers in this political climate from the pressure coming at them from all sides of the spectrum. All sides of the spectrum? Pardon me?
Unknown Speaker 52:30
Well, I think it’s important as we talk about the kind of the view of law enforcement today, as we watch the news media, and we watch some of the challenges that law enforcement faces. there is uncertainty, there’s this negative light, they kind of fall in law enforcement right now is we talk about supporting the law enforcement officers and supporting it’s critical that we have conversations, everything boils down that we’ve talked to tonight about having conversations. And it’s important about having conversations with your, your officers, your organization, about what our values are, about what we do how we do our job, it’s important to make sure that we have policies and procedures in place that show that that we’re using the best practices, it’s important that when the situation does happen, that is leadership, we don’t immediately jump to the negative, that we take the time to gather the information to be transparent with our community. And we share that information. And if an officer has done what he or she should have done and followed the rule the law and done their job, then it’s imperative that is a leader we stand beside that individual through whatever the trials or tribulations that may come. Now, in fact, if that officer has not done what he or she should have done, then there should be repercussions for that. Because as an organization, and as law enforcement, we are responsible, we answer to the citizens of our community. But I truly believe that it begins with communication, it begins with painting a vision, it begins communicating to the expectations of the officers within the organization of what we expect, so that when they go out on the street, they know the expectations, they know what the community needs, they know what the challenges are. And when something does happen, is repeated, or as I said earlier, it is our responsibility as leaders of an organization to look at that not to jump to conclusions, but to stand with the officers, he or she did what they needed to. And if they did not do that, then it is our responsibility to begin to repair the damage has been done with the community and move forward from that point and learn from those opportunities.
Unknown Speaker 54:36
Thank you. Okay, your question. Will you oppose policies and information sharing with ice and incidents relating to our undocumented immigrant community?
Unknown Speaker 54:51
That’s a great question. No, I believe every record is open to the public. And I believe that you hear me Yeah, you know, I believe that the public has a right to know, you know, practices in involving eyes. And I’m telling you as public as public safety, we don’t we don’t we don’t have training on immigration and sanctuary laws, we are just basically asked you not to ask questions, and to handle an incident arrest or to provide treatment. But I will tell you that if the public is asking for that transparency, then absolutely, you give it to him, because that’s where I say that’s where you start to create policies that are reflective of the current climate in society, and the current climate of the community. So that’s a very difficult question, and I’m doing my best to answer it. And that the you know, there are, in my experience, and many of the people who are in communities and who are undocumented, they are leery of law enforcement, they are leery about reporting crime, even member of victims of domestic violence, you know, so it’s a cycle. And I think we’ve talked a lot about crime being a cycle. And so it is an obstacle in somebody receiving equity and fairness and intervention, then why wouldn’t you want to share that information? Why would you want to advocate for a victim? So that’s how I would answer that question. And just being transparent. And it’s, it’s two ways and it’s we should be able to provide to our community members who are facing those scenarios of being undocumented, they should be able to provide that information, whether it’s confidential, or if it’s on an open platform, whether it’s a community forum, but they should be able to have the trust and confidence in public safety that we will advocate. And when it comes down to is we talked about this over and over again, quality of life. Whether you’re documented or undocumented, or US citizen, you have the right to treatment, you have the right to benefits, and you have the right for continuity of care. And why would you not want to share that with the decision makers and city leaders in the city of Longmont? Thank you.
Unknown Speaker 57:15
Okay. What changes would you make to the boundaries of acceptable use of force?
Unknown Speaker 57:22
That is the number one topic in America today, when it comes to policing is the use of force and Candace, make sure your microphone is right up there. Okay, great, thanks. It is the predominant topic. We talk about police in the United States, and the issues that we’ve seen over the last year in a couple years. While it is an authority of police utilize force, and a duty at times, it also comes with a great deal of responsibility. And force is not always to be utilized in those situations. And I understand that very well. Having been placed in those situations myself, no officer wants to end their shit. Tonight, they want to go home to their family, as does the public. The use of force has to be judicious, it has to be appropriate. It has to be objectionable, ie reasonable. And it has to be legal and ethical. And it is a it’s a difficult topic that a lot of people see we’ve seen many videos on social media and on TV and across the media, of officers utilizing questionable use of force incidents, and it stirs the public and gets them angry, and oftentimes has them look at the police as a totality across the entire nation. Something happened in Minneapolis, and police were here bullet blame for that are in our region. We’re like, whoa, I’m not I wasn’t there. Why are you blaming me, unfortunately. But it’s a reflection on our profession. And we have to demonstrate that in a daily basis, that force will only be used in the appropriate manner and the least amount of force at all times, and never excessive. We have a great tool now called body worn cameras. And they show the officers perspective. And on my practices that on every use of force incident, those body worn videos are reviewed. And if any citizens have videos, we will review them as well, as we saw was the critical evidence in the case of Minneapolis. And then it’s reviewed by a supervisor. And then another level up by a command officer was the force utilized by that officer appropriate objectable objectionable objective Li reasonable, legal, and was it necessary, and if it was fine, then the officer acted accordingly. But if the use of force was not, then it either requires training or requires discipline, and if it’s repetitive and action, that might even require termination, because it exposes the city to great risk rate, financial risk rate, great emotional respect. Let’s be Because you will lose the respect of the people, if they believe that you will have a force that is predominantly forceful, and it uses above necessary force. And it’s a delicate balance, because like I say, every officer wants to go home every single night to their family, I have. But yet, there’s also that the citizens want to go to the same thing. And every contact needs to be in that lawful fashion as well. And I am very well aware of a situation that happened on Main Street 40 years ago, that is still in the memories of people here in this community, and understand that very well. So it’s always a predominant thought in my head as a public safety Chief, that we utilize force appropriately, that there’s training, that there’s more tools that which we have now that we had in the past. And everything is utilized to the minimum amount of force to control a person. And once that they are under control, that they’re allowed to breathe, they’re allowed to sit up, and we get them into treatment right away. And if they are injured, we call paramedics. And it’s examined, every single use of force is examined afterwards to see if it was appropriate and by policy and also legal. And if not, then we have a requirement as command and a member of the government here to take the appropriate action. That is a pledge I give you. Thank you.
Unknown Speaker 1:01:19
Okay, your question is what is your understanding of the culture of our organization. So,
Unknown Speaker 1:01:28
I am proud to have spent the last several weeks understanding Longmont and understanding the culture, as I’ve seen in my very limited view over the course of being selected. For this panel. The value system of Longmont is evident, right up front, from the first interaction with City Hall in what you espouse as a community to be citizen centric and values driven. From the public safety perspective. There is a high sense of the worthiness of community policing, and community engagement and meeting the community where they are in the community. Everyone here is self selected to be involved in this process and understand who will be your next public safety director and their motivations. My concern as a public safety director, as who have we not engaged with and are we meeting their needs. And that is very evident in the research that I have done on Longmont and using a different tool than just the criminal justice system or emergency services. I think that speaks a lot to the value system of Longmont and the justice that we want to see for every in respect that we want to see for every individual in Longmont and that community centric citizen centric approach has been very evident to me my journey in this public safety director’s position.
Unknown Speaker 1:02:57
Thank you. Okay, it’s time to wrap up for the hour. So what I’m going to do is ask each of you if there’s because because everybody got so many different questions, and my gosh, you guys came up with great questions. So if there’s something that you’d like to touch on that we haven’t heard yet, if you could just repeat your name, because this is the point where it’s time to offer feedback. So on your pastel colored cards and pieces of paper, anything that you would like for Harold to know, at the end of the evening, we’d like for you to go ahead and write it down on there. So I’d like for you just to repeat your name, and anything that we didn’t touch on tonight.
Unknown Speaker 1:03:33
Again, my name is Dante garlanding. Boy, I think he touched on on on a lot of important topics. There’s there’s nothing more important right now for for public safety than then picking somebody that is the right fit for your community. I think each one of us would like to be in that position. But my hope is that you pick the right person. And if it’s, if, again, I’m gonna repeat myself again, that I had an opportunity to listen to them, to speak with them. And I’m very impressed. You’re going to end up with somebody that cares about Longmont, you’re going to have somebody that is competent, somebody that has shown leadership skills. And I think regardless of who gets the position, Longmont is going to be in good hands. And thank you for the invitation to come out here and to address you and to get to know some of you and thanks, stay safe. Thank you. Thank you. Repeat your name one more time, Dante or Landy. Okay, thank you.
Unknown Speaker 1:04:59
Thank you very much. For the opportunity to come out and just share a little bit with you tonight. I know we’ve touched from everything from use of force to substance abuse disorders to homelessness. We’ve talked really the gamut of everything that you can really think that is being discussed in the media today. But it has been my pleasure to go through this process and to be invited. I wish Longmont the best of luck. I want to thank you again for coming out tonight. Thank you for the opportunity to to just to have a few ministers to speak with you and to share my thoughts and ideas. And I think we’re supposed to say our names. My name is Zack artists. And again, thank you so much for allowing me to be a part of this process. Thanks, Zach. Artists, thank you.
Unknown Speaker 1:05:43
Thank you so much, Manny lm again. And I just want to thank you for this process. I’ve been through numerous processes in my career for promotion, but I tell you what this is the process is ruling, and it is thorough, and I’m telling you that I am going to sleep like a baby tonight. So but it’s a testament to the true collaborative spirit of Longmont, you need to be applauded and be proud. You know, I’ve been coming to Longmont for almost all my life. But I came from a different perspective and a different lens. Over the past couple of weeks, I see a vibrant community. I see community members that care. I see representation from just about everybody that I can imagine. I mean, I’m seeing advocacy groups, I’m seeing community groups, I’m seeing nonprofits, and collectively, that banner out there should not be taken lightly. That’s just not an award they give to any community. So be proud Longmont and I look forward to being part of this great team. Once again, Manny Elma,
Unknown Speaker 1:06:42
good. Thank you. Ken chavis. I applaud everyone here for coming out tonight to taking time out of your busy schedules away from your families, and away from your homes to come here tonight. It shows the dedication you have in your community. And what you want to see and how you want to see your police force and your fire department and your public safety agencies act in the future. It’s an important decision for long one. And picking the right person is critical for that because the leader of this organization will set the tone for 2021 and beyond where it’s going to go from where it’s been taking the perspective of the past the present and moving forward by taking a look at the actions across the nation but also relating them to how it affects here in Longmont, you are a big, little city. Understanding It is important. Having lived in this state my entire life having lived in this area, I feel I have a good perspective of that. And because it’s a part of my community, I feel unnecessary need to help support that will ask why after a long career would you want to do this? And as a chief friend of mine said to me goes, you still have fire in the belly, don’t you? I go, I do. And I still have a desire to serve. I’ve been a career, public servant my entire life. It’s the only thing I know how to do. I can’t do anything else. I wouldn’t be a terrible salesman. I might be a decent teacher. But that’s what I know and what I do. I’m a guardian. I’m a sheep dog. That is what I was bred to do. That is what my family created. And that’s the way I’ve been educated and taught. And I take great responsibility that, to me would be a great privilege and an honor to serve this community in this capacity, because it has been and will be my home for the rest of my life. Thank you, Ken chavis Thank you.
Unknown Speaker 1:08:41
Michael Marino. So I also like to thank you for your engagement on this very important issue for Longmont. And I would like to thank the city leadership team, who I’ll reiterate, has put together and tremendous process so that you get the right person in the seat. So thank you both for that. What I will say is this, I expect that the way that Longmont has structured their Public Safety Agency is that you want a deep, multidisciplinary professional to lead the diverse resources that you coalesce under one umbrella to solve community issues. I will also say that all these issues that we talked about tonight, doesn’t matter if it’s homelessness crime. We didn’t really get into any fire issues. They boil down to trust. They boil down to the trust that the community instills upon its public safety, leadership and public safety personnel to do the job that you ask us to do and prioritize the list so that we’re doing the right thing with the right group at the right time. In my opinion, you get the trust through four actions, I think is a very simple formula and it doesn’t need to be over complicated. Trust, you need to be transparent in your actions, whether it’s law enforcement or any emergency services, you need to show respect for all individuals. You have to be accountable. And as your public safety director, that is my pledge to you all of these attributes, and you have to have communications, back and forth to get these complex issues. Right. takes a lot of dialogue and listening. So thank you again, Michael Marino, honored to be a part of this process in this community tonight. Thank you.
Unknown Speaker 1:10:31
Thank you. So would you join me in a gigantic round of applause for all of our panelists tonight.
Unknown Speaker 1:10:44
And I do understand the grueling nature of our interview process. And it’s by design, of course. So thank you. I’d like to react to that as well. Thank you all for coming here for giving such great questions for being part of this process. Make sure that you give your feedback forms to either Robin Carmen. Mike is over here. Or Harold’s right in the back. He’s running away. Thank you so much for being here tonight.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai