Q. There is a video circulating on social media where police officers, using taxpayer-funded vehicles, pull up to a neighborhood to “serenade” a quinceañera. This quinceañera is apparently related to an officer in the city by the name of Diego A. Villalobos.
I think it’s quite unethical, not to mention an egregious mismanagement of time/resources, presuming that all those officers are on the clock, when they could be enhancing public safety.
Police officers, collectively, should be serving the community as a whole and not certain individuals who receive preferential treatment because they are related to a police officer.
This is an abuse of power. What he does on his own time, with his own vehicle is his prerogative, but not when he is using city resources. I thought eradicating nepotism was somewhat of a priority in the administration of Police Chief Gonzalo Gerardo.
As a community member I am outraged and disappointed that something like this could transpire because there are many children in our community who are missing out on birthday celebrations and graduations; nevertheless, I don’t see the police department going out of their way to honor them. It’s about equity in the community.
The question is, are police officers requesting the use of vehicles during working hours for personal gain/benefit? Is the police chief aware? I sent my inquiry to the police department email, and no response was provided.
A. Calexico City Manager David Dale immediately observed the person criticizing the Calexico Police Department regarding this issue starts by saying she is outraged about the use of public funds for personal benefit, then abruptly changes tune to say the true reason of the scorn is that she feels the CPD is being preferential to its own, and not spreading the benefits to the rest of the community.
“This is no time for negativity,” he said. “As the cities, counties, state and country grapple with this virus, economic and other disasters that are affecting us all, we must rise above the political fray and become better people. We must put aside our petty resentments, learn forgiveness and accept each other with our differences.”
In these times of anxiety, Dale said any improvement of the morale of city staff, residents and other folks living in the surrounding area is a positive thing and should be encouraged.
“Our police officers give more than they receive!” he said. “On many occasions I have seen the CPD reserves, staff, police officers, dispatchers, sergeants, lieutenant and the police chief give to the community on their own time (off the clock as was alluded to).
“They also give of their own money and resources,” Dale said. “The CPD is heavily invested in the community. Such events as coffee with a cop, Christmas activities, parades, are some examples of this.”
Unbeknownst to the critic, the CPD does in fact do similar good deeds for members of the public, he said.
Dale said he is very proud of that CPD, as well as staff and officials with every other city department, give back to the community in so many ways.
A similar question was posed recently about Brawley police and firefighters participating in a birthday parade for a local resident.
Asked about it, City Manager Rosanna Bayon Moore responded, “Our Police and Fire departments field community requests throughout the year. Depending on the schedule, department staffing levels and calls for service in progress on any single day, we may or may not be able to fulfill a given request.”
She explained such activities have historically been viewed by the city as advancing community-building efforts.