As a survivor of violence and as a resident concerned with public safety and ensuring our city uses its resources wisely, I am concerned that Chief Spagnoli is engaging in hyperbole and misinformation to promote her personal agenda. I am writing to ask you to take action by ensuring police chiefs are not permitted to craft city ordinances (advise, but not craft).
Last night at the District 5 & 6 community meeting, Chief Spagnoli reiterated a false statement that I have heard her make before in public — that rising crime in San Leandro is due to early releases of prisoners. Yet, the department’s data presented at the meeting showed no statistically significant rise in crime (and burglary data was not even disaggregated for commercial burglary, which includes shoplifting). And California realignment law does not allow for early release of prisoners.
I asked the Chief if she could direct me to a law or reference supporting her claim of early releases occurring under realignment, because as an attorney I am familiar with criminal codes and policy. She sent me to the California Police Chief’s Association website and accused me of being a State propagandist, supporting the State’s laws and agenda. I thought as a peace officer that her job IS to enforce State law, not create her own. And when I went to that website, all links confirmed that there have been no, and there is no provision for, early releases.
The Chief made clear to me that she has her own personal agenda in conflict with State law. I also am concerned that she in intentionally working to boost fears among our community to build political support for her own agenda. This agenda was made clear in her inclusion into the recent chicken and bee policy of an arguably unconstitutional clause allowing for cause-less searches of permit holders yards, for any reason.
I moved to San Leandro because it offered a safe community. I want to make sure our resources are used wisely and impactfully. Consistent deference to police and the ever increase of the police budget’s portion of the general fund has contributed to our present lack of funding for roads, economic development, and fire also needed for safety. Allowing our codes to be constructed by any police chief presents a conflict of checks and balances over police power. Will you support an ordinance to control police powers by not allowing police to craft our ordinances?