McFarland's Police Department-Emergency
Posted in the McFarland Forum
Since: Oct 10
#1 Oct 13, 2010
911 McFarland Police Department whatís your emergency?
Ten months since its opening McFarlandís Police Department continues to face its own critical state. Posed with the challenges of governing an impoverished community plagued with unemployment, gangs and other related crimes McFarland is now suffering the loss of their Police Chief David Frazer and resignation of two experienced Sergeants. So tell me McFarland whatís your cityís Real Emergency?
It is widely known under the leadership of Chief David Frazer the Department established a warm rapport and respect from the community. "The police actually talk to us commented residents, it wasnít like that before.Ē In many respects Frazerís vision of Team McFarland became a reality. Its spirit plowed through the barriers of Delanoís refusal to dispatch for their agency as well as facing the challenges of creating the Departmentís own Dispatch Center. Such spirit should not go unnoticed. In fact in the eleven months of Frazerís term the Department became zealous proponents of working relationships with county organizations and the media. Their accomplishments included ridding McFarland streets of abandoned vehicles, locating and registering sexual predators as well as aggressively curtailing gang activity. With so much moving forward one asks what impeded Frazerís motivation to the point of resignation?
The major element that impeded Frazerís vision from becoming its ultimate reality did not steam from crime, unemployment or gangs rather it was rooted in a spirit of uncooperativeness generated by the City Manger himself-Robert Wilburn who maintains an erroneous view of his position and that of the Police Chief. Simply stated a City Manger oversees the various departments within his jurisdiction,(California Government Code 34856 and 34857). In contrast a Police Chief although subordinate to the City Manager is solely responsible for the control of the police department, its officers, evidence, documents and property. The separation of the two positions affords residents due process as well as the custody and control of evidence, property and documentation related to arrests. When a City Manager and Police Chief work in concert their Departments maintain an orderly coexistence founded on mutual respect and trust.
City Officials may have expressed their desire to have their own police department but Wilburnís welcoming of Frazer indicated otherwise. Frazerís twenty-seven years of dedicated service to law enforcement and six years of higher education quickly became a source of contention for Wilburn who frequently reminded him,ďYou are a new Chief, Iím the City Manager, I run the City, you enforce the laws!Ē During Frazerís authorized time off Wilburn flexed his muscles even further by requesting reports from records clerks and assigning officers specified tasks. Wilburnís interference and lack of confidence in the police departmentís chain of command publicly amplified itself when Wilburn, a City Council Member and his Wife arrived at a homicide crime scene. Needless to say Officers promptly instructed the trio to vacate the premises. Wilburnís power tactics and disregard for the security of the City rampaged when he ordered Frazer to launch the Departmentís 911 system prior to the stateís approval. Frazer denounced Wilburnís directive and the vendorís support of Frazerís decision was evidenced by the corporation immediate halting of the project until Wilburn signed a release of liability for any mishaps related to the systemís premature operation. Wilburn refused to sign the legal document and quickly retreated.
Realistically speaking crime will continue, poverty is on the rise but this does not negate the fact relative community peace can only be fully imposed when a City Manager respects his Chief of Police.
So McFarland I ask you again ďWhat is your Real Emergency?Ē
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