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Public Safety Must Be Top Priority

January 23, 1994

* I don't share in the elation surrounding the recent federal grant aiding Garden Grove's hiring of six new police officers.

Why have we reached the point that our Police Department has to go to the federal government to motivate our city to protect its citizens?

Somehow, most of us are ignorant enough to argue that federal money is free money. Relax! We're paying for that, too.

I'm not suggesting that we don't need six new officers. We need 15 or 20. As one who lives in one of the three areas being targeted by the new officers, I'm sorry; I don't feel safer. I won't be any more willing to allow my family to walk to the grocery store or the park.

To enact change, public safety must be the city's No. 1 priority. Watch next year's budget battle; the Police Department will again slide down the priority list. Particularly now that the City Council can argue that we just added six new officers.

If we don't change our priorities now, five years down the road, when the federal money runs out, we'll be without our six new officers, again.

(Police) Chief (Stanley L.) Knee has a vision of a better Garden Grove, but the police will never truly be able to accomplish the goals of "community policing" until the city changes its priority list.


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