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Vote of Support for Police Department

August 23, 1990

I would like to use this forum to place my vote of confidence in Long Beach Police Chief Lawrence Binkley and, at the same time, applaud City Manager James C. Hankla for having the courage to present a brilliant solution to the public safety issue beleaguering Long Beach.

Summoning the assistance of the Sheriff's Department to police portions of north and east Long Beach is both economically defensible and morally sound: Mr. Hankla's primary responsibility is to provide a safe environment for the citizens of Long Beach, and augmenting the present Police Department with sheriff's deputies is a viable, short-term solution to that dilemma.

However, I would like to believe that a city of the magnitude of Long Beach would be capable of maintaining the autonomy of its own police force. The current problems--union unrest, personnel shortages--did not occur overnight, nor will the solution be sudden. But the department is capable and is currently progressing toward resolution.

I have been a member of the department for over 16 years and have viewed, from a variety of perspectives, some discernible progress as the department has been moved toward increasingly higher levels of professionalism.

Organizational change is seldom pleasant, it isn't pretty to watch, and can be downright uncomfortable to be directly involved in, but it is necessary if the Long Beach Police Department expects to expand on its ability to properly serve a rapidly changing community. Chief Binkley has instituted procedures which will enable this department to maintain and polish its reputation of excellence and professionalism.

Chief Binkley, the department and the community, as a partnership, all deserve the opportunity to prove that the current organizational strategies will succeed. For this to occur, my vote of confidence will have to be joined by the support of the City Council and the community. There is too much to be gained and lost to remain indifferent. We must actively make appropriate decisions regarding the future of Long Beach--not passively await the outcome of events which we perceive as beyond our control.

Rather than bemoan the demise of the Long Beach Police Department, this is the time to actively participate in its transformation. An increasingly responsive department, attuned to the specific needs of a diverse community, will raise levels of public confidence and reflect positively on those dedicated employees providing that service.

LT. WILLIAM F. ALBERTSON

Long Beach Police Department

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