■ By Emmett Campbell / Contributed
Envisaging the current Hemet City Police Chief as sheriff of Riverside County when he retires in December, as he has recently suggested, is more than I can handle. As if this were possible even with his surrogates voting for him.
Dave Brown has been a complete flop as HPD chief in every respect except as a demagogue. To wit, his most recent expression in this area are the theatricals he pulled a few weeks ago regarding Operation Valley Vigilance, probably impressing only his few staunch supporters.
Dave Brown hasn’t been able to reduce the levels of crime in Hemet as demonstrated in The Valley Chronicle’s weekly crime report – everything from petty theft to assault with a deadly weapon, auto thefts, breaking and entering, robberies, homicide and others that make our beautiful City of Hemet a very unsafe place to live. San Jacinto, on the other hand, has one-third the crime rate per 1,000 residents than Hemet, but they have contracted with the Riverside County Sheriff to look out for their safety.
Oddly enough though, for some reason, nothing is ever reported on the crimes of prostitution, pimping, human and drug trafficking, child molestation, pornography, etc. These crimes are being committed in plain sight of the average citizen on the streets, parks and many other public and private places on a daily basis. The obvious question is why does such an immoral and sleazy activity never show up on a single crime report? Can it be that only the police don’t see?
As if this were not enough, a few days ago, Dave Brown’s policemen committed the unforgivable sin in our democracy of repressing the freedom of the press as protected by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution when an accredited photo/video journalist attempting to do his job at the site of an auto crash, which involved a Hemet police car and injured people, was handcuffed and forcibly removed from the location and thrown in jail, preventing him from recording the facts at the scene.
Truly this Gestapo-like behavior of police abuse comes to prove the veracity of the now famous words of Trump’s most recently fired and disgraced communications director: “the fish stinks from the head down.”
This incident alone, in any other community in the United States of America with a functioning City Council, would be enough to fire the police chief and suspend the officers involved pending investigation of the incident. In Hemet however, in case anybody is watching, the City Council from the Mayor on down ignored a very serious violation of the U.S. Constitution by public servants. So instead of stepping up to the plate in fulfillment of a sworn oath to protect the community, the City Council has preferred to act as an accomplice of a police department and its police unions in an obvious state of decomposition.
December is a long way away and unfortunately for the peace loving, taxpaying residents of Hemet who need a police chief that knows the job and is willing to do it efficiently, it looks like retirement is the only way to rid the city of this incompetent bureaucrat. We cannot rely on the City Council to do their job and wipe the slate clean.