Thursday, March 29, 2007

Gang issues aired out at public forum

By Daryl Kelley
A troubled Ojai neighborhood’s search for solutions for gang violence moved to a public forum Wednesday night, as the Police Department fielded questions from members of a frightened, frustrated and quietly angry community.
“It’s important that the community take a stand,” said Sheriff’s Capt. Bruce Norris, discussing a second gang-related shooting in six months. “If we sit back and look out the blinds, they’re going to take over. Police can’t be effective by themselves.
“Call us,” he told 18 residents of the lower Drown, Oak and Waite streets neighborhood in Ojai at a gathering at Chaparral Auditorium
But if Norris’ plea was for residents to take back their neighborhood by banding together and helping police, they let him know they were not convinced police were doing all they can to make it safe again.
“There’s a perception that you guys aren’t doing anything,” said Rick Bisaccia, a Drown Street property owner.
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Dana Wilson said...

It sounds as though allot of understanding took place at the meeting: Residents reaching out to the police and to other neighbours, who's households have some of the troublemakers; Police admitting that they need to get out of their cars and get to know the people of Ojai.

It's far better for the police to know who they are dealing with in time of crises than to appear and disappear only when a need arises.Knowing and trusting has to go both ways between civilian and police.

As a boy in Ojai, my friends and I, for that matter almost everyone knew each cop on a first name basis.To this day when we are around each other, when the subject comes up, we talk of our favourite cops and our youthful encounters with them.Because they knew the town inside and out, they knew of the important and not so important goings ons of Ojai. They stopped things at times before they got of hand. That is what we need again in Ojai.

I would encourage the city and county to create incentives for some of these officers to live in Ojai. I mean financial one's that would help them buy in up here and make Ojai their own community.Believe me, having as we did back then, cops from Ojai itself gave them endless avenues of information to be aware of and care for their home of Ojai.

Laurinda93023 said...

I agree completely. There is a major difference in the efficiency of the police and how they relate to the needs of the community from when I was growing up and now. The police used to have a vested interest in the people of Ojai and could well judge what or who were problems and deal with them individually. There was little need for forums and meetings because the police were neighbors. Most of the time I think because they are shipped in from Ventura they have no idea how the town itself works and in effect work against the needs of the community,unfortunately.