Santa Clara Police Chief Mike Sellers has a new way to tap into the community. Chief Sellers held his first meeting with the Chief’s Advisory Committee (CAC) on Oct. 15.
“I’m excited to have the opportunity to help shape our community for the future and ensure that the voice of the demographic that I represent — younger individuals that are homeowners who will be raising a family in the future — is heard,” said Caitlin Frates.
Frates has lived in Santa Clara for six years. She is one of 15 people named to the committee, which is made up of a combination of newer community members like Frates and long-time residents.
Corinne Sanfilippo has lived in Santa Clara for 63 years and worked for the Santa Clara Unified School District for 30 years. She says it’s nice to work with a group of people who all have a vested interest in the City’s future.
“I applied for the Chief’s Advisory Committee because I thought it would be a wonderful opportunity to work with a group of community members who care about the safety of this community,” said Sanfilippo. “We have a very unique City and police department [that] truly cares about this City and are very involved with this community.”
The first meeting was a get to know you session. The members met each other for the first time and received some background on Chief Seller’s first order of business, a new crisis communication plan for the Santa Clara Police Department.
Many say they walked out of the meeting optimistic.
“After listening to Carolyn [McDowell], Chief Sellers and Assistant Chief Winter, it’s clear they all believe this can be a huge information resource from the community and are committed at 110 percent,” said Dave Molyneaux.
“I feel very positive after the first meeting,” said Ram Misra, who has lived in Santa Clara for more than 35 years. “The Chief and his staff are willing to listen to our views and change policies, if needed. Also, the group appears to be cohesive.”
With the holidays looming, the next meeting is set for January. Committee members were asked to review the City’s current crisis communication plan over the next three months and research potential changes.
The goal is to meet quarterly unless there’s an urgent issue that needs to be addressed. In addition to the crisis communication plan, the committee will look at key issues facing the police dept. including offering community input on a potential police drone deployment plan.