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VIDEO: Residents Hear Banning Police Union Perspective at Russo's

Banning-Beaumont Patch video by Guy McCarthy

Banning residents, business owners, school and city officials meet with Banning Police Officers Association members at Russo's in Banning, Calif., Jan. 7, 2014. Banning-Beaumont Patch photo by Guy McCarthy.
Banning residents, business owners, school and city officials meet with Banning Police Officers Association members at Russo's in Banning, Calif., Jan. 7, 2014. Banning-Beaumont Patch photo by Guy McCarthy.
The Banning Police Officers Association hosted a public meeting 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday Jan. 7 at Russo's Italian Kitchen, "to update the community on the state of the Banning Police Department and to answer questions," according to organizers.

The BPOA is the union for all 24 sworn non-administration personnel who work for the Banning Police Department, said Banning police Cpl. Brandon Smith, an elected representative of the Banning Police Officers Association.

Residents, business owners, school and city officials attended, including Mayor Debbie Franklin and Councilman Edward Miller.

This video includes Smith's opening remarks.
ATC January 08, 2014 at 11:52 PM
While I will admit that I was not able to attend this “meeting”, I did watch all three videos posted here on the Patch, and while I’m sure that there was much more that went on than what these videos reflect, there did seem to be a common theme: Blame the Council. Unsolved murders? Not enough officers on the street? No traffic department? No K9 narcotics officer? Blame the Council. The problem with that is that the Council has absolutely no control over the day to day operations of the Police Department. They have no say in hiring or firing, they have no say in which departments will be cut and which will be funded, they have no say in anything the PD does other than the overall funding, which indeed they have on a number of occasions increased when asked to by ex-chief Leonard Purvis (for his IA investigations). So for these officers to tell the public that if they don’t like something about the PD that they should complain to their Council is completely off base and counter productive, IMO. The City Manager is the one with power over the PD, not the Council. ***** Next, it was amusing that Cpl Feola, when asked about the MRAP, never mentioned the fact that it was HE who crashed it, nor whether anyone in the department has yet to acquire a license to actually drive the thing, and never acknowledged that Banning PD already has an armored vehicle that would suffice in the situations he mentioned in an effort to justify the beast. ***** Finally, Cpl Smith made the point (more than once) that they were there as members of the union, the rank and file, so to speak, which means that they were NOT there in any official capacity of the Banning Police Department and therefore were NOT speaking on behalf of the Department. I wonder if the rest of the rank and file officers were in fact OK with what was being said on their behalf? And what about the administration (the “interim” admin, of course) and/or the City Manager, none of whom were in attendance? ***** I would have much rather had something like this “officially” put on by the Police Department, so that the public could ask questions of those who are actually in charge of the department, and get official answers, rather than just the “union’s” side of the story. This just seems almost like a juvenile “Don’t look at me, I didn’t do it” show, and not much more.
a litttle justice January 09, 2014 at 02:00 AM
As the headline says this meeting was from the perspective of the BPOA (Banning Police Officers Association) and they have every right to do that, I to have have watched the videos, and while I did hear the speakers refer the public to their "elected" officials, I did not hear them "blame" the council. As far as Council or Administrations perspectives, I would hope that this meeting will encourage the Council and the Administration to articulate their perspectives on the subjects and ultimately resolve the Union's concerns as it relates to their safety and the public's safety.
Jeremiah January 09, 2014 at 04:52 AM
ATC - I WAS at the meeting and your representation of what you think was said is completely out of line. There was no effort to "blame" the council for anything - in fact there was a good back and forth that showed agreement in principle that Banning does need more officers to properly police the city. Both sides (if there are sides, you seem to be one of the few trying to keep this going) agreed on that point and both agreed that the crux of the problem is that there is no money available for more officers without increasing taxes somewhere. Somehow you forget that Banning PD is a part of the city - this separation you keep trying to promote is a past issue. The new reality is a council and a PD and citizens who are trying to work together to resolve the issue. The question you have to answer for yourself is whether you are going to be a part of the problem or a part of the solution. Contrary to your portrayal, the city council member at the meeting indicated a willingness to work together with the PD to provide better service to the community and both sides asked the citizens to make the council aware of what they want from them. This was NOT an adversarial meeting as you try so hard to spin it to be - it was a very positive first step to a solution. The next step will be for the council to hold a meeting to share more information with the community which I believe they will do. There was considerable discussion of whether the community thought Andy Takata should make the decision on the hiring of the new police chief or whether it should be done by the council with more people involved. A suggestion was made that there should be people from the community involved and it was agreed by both the council members present and the BPOA members present that this suggestion had validity and would be considered. You also need to understand that the PD cannot hold a meeting like this separate from the city because they fall under the umbrella of the city. No matter how much you would like to promote dissension, they are one of many departments of the city and the council is ultimately responsible for oversight, just as they are with the water and electric departments. Another thing - can you show factually that no one in the department has a license to operate that MRAP or is that a guess and conjecture on your part without any real knowledge? **** You need to back off a bit and stop trying to stir up the waters and give the council and the PD a chance to work together - what you are doing is causing people to take sides and point fingers at the council or the PD and that is not what is needed at this time. **** Jeremiah
ATC January 09, 2014 at 12:19 PM
You’re right, Jeremiah, I wasn’t there.  But I also think that your hatred of me clouds your assessment of what I’ve said at least a bit; the minute you see “ATC”, you go into attack mode, and that’s unfortunate.  There was a time when you and I could agree, and even disagree, without the venom.  Never in any way did I say that this meeting was adversarial, and you know it.  You can disagree with me all you want, but don’t make things up to disagree with.   I’m only questioning what the underlying intent really was.  You’re right, the PD cannot hold a meeting like this separate from the city, so why is it OK for the BPOE to do so? Because that is exactly what they did, didn’t they?  The BPOE was not speaking on behalf of the city, nor on behalf of the Police Department, and in reality have no power to enact any of the changes that were discussed.  So I question what the motives really were, that’s all.  *****  We all know and agree that there are too few officers to effectively police the city.  That’s not news.  And we all know and agree that there are too few dollars to do what needs to be done.  That’s also not news.  A “willingness to work together” means what, exactly?  Or is that one of those new age terms like “synergy” that sounds warm and fuzzy but cannot really be defined in a way that actually accomplishes anything?  Again, at this stage, the council has no say or control over anything that was discussed at this meeting, nor does the Union.  The Council oversight that you mention does not really cover anything other than budget matters, and since there's is no money...  *****  As for the licensing, you’re right, I cannot show “factually” that no one in the department holds one.  Can you show “factually” that they do?  My guess is based on the assumption that if anyone did, they would have been the logical choice to drive the MRAP home, right?  *****   If the result of this meeting is that more people attend council meetings…great.  I have often lamented the apathy and lack of participation in our council meetings.  But I also believe that this meeting would have been more productive and more relevant had it been held by those with the power to actually do something.  A union going to the public with their concerns is usually a tactic employed during contentious contract negotiations.  Again, this is my opinion, and is no less valid than yours.
Jeremiah January 09, 2014 at 12:51 PM
ATC - I have no hatred of you, I am disgusted with you for the game you tried to play of publicly calling me a liar about my position concerning Don Peterson when you absolutely knew differently. Then when you got caught up, you tried to pass it off as a "mistaken understanding" and called that an "apology". Not good enough, ATC - a true apology includes an admission of wrongdoing. **** I am truly confused concerning your intent with comments on a meeting you didn't even bother to attend. Why does it appear that you are attempting to further a split between the PD and the council when they are both actively working to provide better service to the citizens? This was not a "union going public with their concerns" separate from the council - this was a question and answer session for the public to air the public's concerns and two of the city council were invited guests and participated. More would have liked to have been there but Brown Act restrictions precluded that. Why such negativism without even giving the council and the PD a chance to work together under a new management? **** Jeremiah
ATC January 09, 2014 at 01:01 PM
We all know about why I "disgust" you, Jeremiah; you bring it up and rehash it every single time I post anything. Quite frankly, everyone here is tired of hearing you whine about it. At this point, the horse is not just dead, but completely decomposed as well. Get over it and move on.
Jeremiah January 09, 2014 at 01:08 PM
Quite possibly, ATC, you should not have tried to pull a "Libi" and falsely accuse someone and expect to walk away smelling like a rose. I want just as public an apology for the wrong as you were public with the false accusation. Then it will be a dead issue.**** And you answered none of the questions concerning negativism and intent. Those were separate from our issue. **** Jeremiah
ATC January 09, 2014 at 06:28 PM
Let’s clear the air here, Jeremiah, shall we?  When my so-called “transgression against you” occurred, both you and Alexander were attacking me for my views and I was attacking you both for yours.  All of us were a bit heated, and because of the fact that you both you were on the same page in that discussion/argument, I mistakenly attributed to you something that Alexander had said.  It was an honest mistake, and when you pointed it out (quite forcefully, I might add), I admitted and apologized for that mistake.  Whether you believe it or not, that is exactly what it was; a mistake, nothing more.  I will not apologize for anything other than that.  There was no thought out, detailed conspiracy plan to intentionally destroy your reputation; I have much better things to do with my time than to concoct an elaborate plan to try to discredit some unknown poster on the internet, particularly one whom I had engaged in very thought provoking conversations in the past.  It was simply a mistake on my part.  I thought you were lying, I called you out on it, you corrected me, and I apologized…end of story.  Except it’s not the end, is it?  I’m tired of hearing about it.  I’m sure that other Patch readers are tired of hearing about it.  Aren’t you tired of writing about it?  I’ll tell you what, here’s an olive branch…let’s sit down and talk, perhaps over coffee or a beer, and get past this.  I’m available this weekend, including Friday (tomorrow). Give Don a call and he can contact me to set it up, deal?
Jeremiah January 09, 2014 at 08:08 PM
ATC - I will accept your olive branch. As for meeting it will have to be an evening next week or next weekend - I am seriously overbooked on things I have promised people and I have audio engineering commitments to my church all day Sunday. I am not trying to put you off and I actually will look forward to meeting you. So I will contact you or Don Peterson next week early and see if there is a time that is convenient for both of us. Will that work? **** Jeremiah
ATC January 09, 2014 at 08:18 PM
No problem. In the meantime, let's agree to a truce online. It really furthers nothing; we should be able to agree to disagree without getting personal, as neither of us are trying to destroy this city.
Jeremiah January 09, 2014 at 09:55 PM
Done. **** Jeremiah
nobodyuno January 10, 2014 at 02:19 AM
True gentlemen!!!
Truth is Truth January 10, 2014 at 11:27 AM
Steve, observing your posts here and knowing about your personal activities, it's apparent you don't know much about being a gentleman. Doesn't Highland have a patch? That's where you live so why not enrich them with your comments.

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