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Glowing Report on Pasadena Police

Positive feelings abound among residents and officers, but minorities are less satisfied.

August 17, 2006|Lisa Richardson | Times Staff Writer

Pasadena police officers like their jobs, say the department is a good place to work and trust the people in the community they serve.

Moreover, a new report has found that the overwhelming majority of Pasadena residents feel the same way about the Police Department.

People of color were the one exception to the resounding approval. While generally supportive of the department, minorities expressed lower levels of satisfaction with the department and more concerns about police misconduct than whites.

But the unusually high level of satisfaction on both sides of the survey puts Pasadena police ahead of departments in cities such as New York, Kansas City, Chicago and Washington in terms of mutual satisfaction of residents and officers.

The report, prepared by the Police Assessment Resource Center, was based on surveys given to a representative sample of 1,500 Pasadena residents and all 241 sworn police officers.

Among the key findings: 90% of officers said the department is a good place to work; 80% of residents said the department is good at preventing crime; 85% said officers are courteous and fair; and 87% said the department effectively promotes community relations.

For the most part, the results stand as an example of highly successful community policing that should serve as a model to other agencies, said Merrick Bobb, president of the resource center.

"What we found extraordinary was the degree of happiness and satisfaction that Pasadena police officers derive from their job," Bobb said.

The department still has a way to go, however, in terms of relations with minority groups.

For example, on the topic of police misconduct, all racial and ethnic minority groups were significantly more likely than whites to see police misconduct as a problem.

Twice as many blacks as whites said police misconduct was a problem and, while not to the same degree, significantly higher proportions of Latinos and Asians also said police misconduct was at least a minor problem.

More than half of blacks reported racial profiling and unwarranted police stops as at least a minor problem, as did 45% of Latinos.

Conversely, about half of Pasadena police officers said minorities unfairly complain of racial profiling and police abuse of authority.

Police officials said the report is a good indicator of how much progress the department has made in forging community ties.

"There is definitely some work that still needs to be done, but I can tell you we are more connected with all our communities now," said Cmdr. John Perez. "I thought we were pretty good two years ago, and I know we're better today."

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