A■ By Emmett Campbell / Contributed
s an observer of political events in our valley, it never ceases to amaze me how the powers that be in this small town of Hemet are so skilled in bamboozling the average citizen into believing their deceptions – smoke screens — not unlike the state and federal governments. Obviously the entire team of city government, as well as all the “yes” people affixed to it, is complicit in this charade. How else does a simple issue such as the level of crime in Hemet get passed off as something that requires a declaration of war complete with the pompous rhetoric and applause most common in theatrical comedy?
The crime issue in Hemet is now complicated only because the police department is incompetent and a drastic change is in order to fix the problem. The chief of police and second in command should step down and let a qualified chief of police take over to rebuild a much devalued police department that no longer enjoys the confidence of the citizenry. Speeches alone and laying blame elsewhere instead of accepting responsibility for their failings will not correct the issue.
In previous columns, I have written about the advantages of contracting out police services to the County Sheriff and in light of all the evidence, I continue to believe this to be the best alternative. However, the decision is squarely in the hands of the City Council, who will undoubtedly continue to support a police department in the “one for all and all for one” tradition to the detriment of everyone who lives in Hemet. Contracting out police services to the County Sheriff is cheaper and better as shown in at least half of the cities in California.
The City Council can keep the police department for now, but at the minimum should force the existing police chief and his deputy to resign. The cost of opportunity (loss of potential gain) i.e. business investment, job creation, tax base, perception of insecurity, loss of tourism and others is probably greater than the cost of liquidating Dave Brown and Rob Webb. A desperate remedy for desperate evils, as the saying goes. Why not use funds from Measure U, the public safety tax for this purpose? Remember that this tax money is to improve public safety.
The country is full of municipalities that have fired their police chiefs for a variety of reasons, not least of which, is the matter of incompetence. Annapolis, Chicago, San Jose, Phoenix and many others have decided to fire their police chiefs in order to better protect the citizens of their respective communities by substituting them with qualified replacements.
Dave Brown and Rob Webb have demonstrated their inability to reduce and stabilize the high percentages of crime in Hemet and should not be further tolerated by the residents of this peace loving city. Murders, rapes, robbery, burglary and other violent crimes, as well as prostitution, are running rampant in Hemet. Police Chief Brown and Deputy Police Chief Webb need to resign immediately before crime gets worse than it is now. Obviously the most viable option is to replace them with sheriff’s deputies.