Decision on ballot in Pomona in 2012
Monica Rodriguez, Staff Writer
Created: 04/24/2011 07:02:39 AM PDT

POMONA – The city’s Charter Review Commission has decided that Pomona voters should determine if the city will have a police commission.

Commission members voted last week in favor of adding language to a proposed charter update that will go to voters for approval in November 2012.

As part of its research, a commission subcommittee conducted interviews, including one with police Chief Dave Keetle, and studied police commissions in other cities. The subcommittee also explored the use of an inspector-general model used in some cities and in the federal government.

However, commissioners did not make a recommendation of what a police commission in Pomona should look like.

Instead, if voters decide they want a police commission, it will be up to the City Council, city staff, the police chief and the community to come up with an appropriate model, said Commissioner Arturo Jimenez, who advocated for a police commission.

Of 13 commissioners present, Commissioner Lucille Lyon voted against adding wording calling for a police commission to a proposed charter revision. Commissioner Frank Delgado and Veronica Michalowski abstained.

Lyon cited the cost when she explained her “no” vote.

If voters approve a police commission, funding would probably have to be taken from the Police Department’s budget to run a commission, she said. That could result in additional cuts to the department.

“That’s not going to do anybody any good,” Lyon said.

In reviewing different police commission models, Lyon said none of the models may be able to address concerns some members of the public have brought forth.

Jimenez said a police commission can provide a forum to address various issues including some associated with police conduct, the performance of past chiefs and the need for improved police and community relations.

If voters support the creation of a police commission, community participation will be critical, Jimenez said.

“It will only be as good as the community’s capacity to come together” to create something that meets the city’s needs, he said.

John Thompson was among those who first suggested establishing a police commission.

Thompson, a former president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People of Pomona Valley, said establishing a police commission would offer the public a forum to present concerns without them leading to the filing of expensive lawsuits.

Thompson said he is not alleging inappropriate activities have occurred.

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