Fullerton Hearts Its Police Department And Won't Accept Any Substitute
This week the Fullerton City Council voted 3-2 not to go forward with a study that would consider the benefits of outsourcing its services to the Orange County Sheriff's Department.
The study would have been the first of many steps toward disbanding the city's own police force, which has been embroiled in controversy since the beating of Kelly Thomas. However, the city council members who voted to support the measure, including Councilmen Travis Kiger and Bruce Whitaker, said that it was about saving costs in the wake of California cities that have been going bankrupt—not reform, according to the Orange County Register.
"I answer to the taxpayers of Fullerton, and I owe it to them to see that our finances are in good shape," Kiger said at the meeting. "We are going to have to look at this stuff sooner or later."
But the moment wasn't right now. The audience at the City Council meeting on Tuesday was a sea of blue T-shirts made up of police officers and their supporters proclaiming their love for the police department. More than 50 speakers spoke at the meeting
Councilman Greg Sebourn said that he would have liked to have gone forward with a preliminary study, but he voted against the measure because it was against the political will, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The issue of oversight of the department did come up, and some critics of the Fullerton Department questioned whether the Orange County sheriff's department would be an improvement. An unlikely supporter included Ron Thomas who notes that he and other critics have been able to pressure the police force to reform since the death of his son Kelly.