The Santa Clara Police Department (SCPD) has created a new way to connect with the community. The department is vetting applicants for its newly formed Chief’s Advisory Committee (CAC). The committee is designed to give Police Chief Mike Sellers immediate and direct feedback.
“I want it to be a two-way street,” said Sellers. “They have someone they can contact. I may not know the answer, but I can put it out there. Also, I have someone to get [information] out there in the community.”
The CAC will consist of 15 people from a wide variety of backgrounds, including business owners and residents. Chief Sellers will make the final decision on all committee members.
“I’m looking at age, background, what they can bring to the table,” said Sellers. “Not necessarily pro-police — I think it’s important to have criticism.”
Once the committee is formed the first topic it will look at is how the department shares information with members of the community.
“In an officer-involved situation, the department can only release certain information without jeopardizing the investigation or the case,” said Sellers.
He would like to work with the committee to determine what information can be released to make community members feel more at ease.
The committee may also be asked to look at the issue of drones. In July, Mountain View police deployed drones for added security at a music festival at Shoreline Amphitheatre. Sellers believes drones can be a useful tool in certain situations, but he realizes it’s an issue that needs to be approached with caution.
“There would be a strict policy associated with it,” said Sellers.
The CAC could help create a drone policy by offering insight into what would be important to members of the community. It would also help with community outreach before any drone plan is put into action.
Drones are not currently at the forefront of the SCPD’s plans, but could be addressed in the next year.
The SCPD has already received more than a dozen applications to become a member of the CAC. The application process is open until Sept. 14. The chief hopes to have the committee selected by early October, with the first meeting tentatively scheduled for Oct. 15.
Each candidate will be allowed to serve a maximum of two years on the committee and open slots will be filled as soon as they become available. The hope is that once the CAC is established, there will be a regular flow of new voices with new input.
For details on how to qualify for the CAC as well as how to apply, go to the City’s website www.santaclaraca.gov and search “Chief’s Advisory Committee.”