A group of Santa Clara citizens gathered in the Margie Edinger Meeting Room of the Central Library on Nov. 9 to participate in another “Chat with the Chief” held by the Santa Clara Chief of Police Michael Sellers.
Sellers started the chat by briefing the audience on how he got started and some of his plans as Chief.
“I wanted to be able to connect more with the community and give our citizens an opportunity to meet with me and ask questions they might not normally ask or have always wanted to ask,” says Sellers. “I think this gives us an opportunity where it’s not a political thing or an enforcement things; it’s just an opportunity where we’re just sitting here having a chat.”
Following the introduction, Sellers opened up the room to questions. Anything from stadium security and traffic concerns to public and neighborhood safety were covered, in addition to other topics.
The bulk of the questions revolved around Levi’s Stadium and the surrounding neighborhoods. Many of the attendees had concerns of security on game days as well as where the money for extra security comes from.
“I didn’t want our level of service to drop,” says Sellers. “If somebody needed our assistance anywhere in the city that wasn’t associated with the stadium, I wanted to make sure they were going to receive the same level of service.”
In order to keep the service level the same, the police department created relationships with federal, state and local agencies. About 140 “double badgers” were hired; sworn officers from different agencies that are paid a flat rate to work under Sellers on game days. There are also 70 additional traffic control officers. These costs are part of the price to use the stadium.
With home and car burglaries at an increase, concerns with public safety were brought up. To combat car break-ins, Sellers recommends storing valuables out of sight. As for homes,
When asked how technology affects how officers fulfill their responsibilities, Sellers informed the group that all Santa Clara police officers have been issued cameras as part of their everyday uniforms. The only downside is that video offers a one-dimensional view of what’s happening.
The chat concluded after an hour and a half, but Sellers stayed afterwards to answer any more questions. Days and times of upcoming chats can be found at santaclara.gov/events.