ANAHEIM, Calif. (Jan. 31, 2023)
To Our Community,
On Friday, the Memphis Police Department released video footage of the arrest of Tyre Nichols. After watching the video footage, we are saddened and angered by the actions of the Memphis officers that led to Mr. Nichols' death. On behalf of the Anaheim Police Department and Anaheim Police Association (APA), we want to extend our condolences to the Nichols family. When officers use excessive force, it tears at the fabric of our society and violates the oath we are sworn to uphold. With that being said, we want to reassure the community this would never occur in Anaheim and highlight some of the many ways we hold ourselves accountable to maintain the trust of the community.
We understand effective policing requires the trust and partnership of the community and we remain committed to innovation while maintaining the highest level of transparency, trust, and inclusiveness in our community. Few Departments are as self-critical as the Anaheim Police Department and we hold all employees to the high standards the community expects. In writing his letter, we aim to inform the community about the Department's policies and procedures, highlight our investment in training, and discuss the quality of our personnel and supervision.
Our success can only be achieved through continuous self-improvement and the continual refinement of our methods. We were the first law enforcement agency in Orange County to mandate the use of body-worn cameras (BWCs) by all field personnel. We also were the first Orange County city to provide civilian oversight through our Police Review Board. For over a decade, the Department has contracted with an independent auditor, the OIR Group, to evaluate the Department's policies and procedures. The OIR Group has unfettered access to our entire Department operations, notably internal affairs investigations, all use of force incidents, and critical incidents including officer-involved shootings and in-custody deaths. Our unique Major Incident Review Team (MIRT) investigates significant events to identify areas of improvement to better prepare and equip officers to meet the challenges they see in the field.
The recruitment, retention, training, and supervision of our personnel are critical to our success. Despite nationwide recruitment problems, the Anaheim Police Department continues to attract, recruit, and retain high-quality employees. The Department has expanded our commitment to our employees through increased and improved training_ The Department is committed to providing 100 hours of training to each employee each year and easily exceeds the mandatory requirements set forth by the state. Officers have received specialized training on de-escalation, critical incident management, leadership, and arrest and control techniques. Additionally, every officer was required to attend a 16-hour Crisis Intervention Technique training course to improve our response to mental illness, intellectual disabilities, and substance use disorders.
We recognize the success of the Anaheim Police Department relies on knowledgeable, engaged, and well-rounded supervisors who are prepared to make good decisions in the field. We are proud of the quality of our supervisors and how they translate the Department's vision, mission, values, policies, and expectations into operational practice every day. To better prepare our newly-promoted supervisors, the Department expanded its supervisor training program. The training program, a combination of classroom and field training, was designed to ensure the supervisors are ready for the challenges of modern-day policing. It is important to note that every specialized unit has at least one supervisor who is responsible for going into the field with their team. Specialized unit supervisors directly oversee their unit's investigations, enforcement activity, or community engagement efforts. Department policy requires officers to report any use of force to a supervisor and requires a supervisor to investigate the incident to ensure the force was used appropriately, meeting the standards set forth by our policy and applicable law.
The mission of the Anaheim Police Department is to make Anaheim a safe community to live, work and play. Every day our employees, both sworn and professional staff, achieve this mission by demonstrating compassion, respect, accountability, and a commitment to service. I am proud to be the Anaheim police chief and am confident an incident like this would never occur in our community.
Find a copy of the letter here.