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Voice: An insider's look at ECPD

January 07, 2002

This letter is in response to James MacGaffy's letter to "Voice of the People" of Jan. 2.

"MacGaffy" states the El Centro Police Department received an "F" on the evaluation conducted by the Police Officers Standards and Training. I personally looked and read the evaluation since Chief Ray Loera made it available to everyone at ECPD. Nowhere in the report did it give a letter grade nor did it state that ECPD had failed any part of the evaluation.

You stated there was an overwhelming "no confidence" vote for Mr. Ray Loera's appointment as chief. Define your definition of "overwhelming." Less than one-fourth of the ECPD police officer association were in attendance at the meeting when a vote was taken and passed to write the letter of no confidence against Chief Loera. I do not consider this to be an overwhelming vote. However, your standards may be much lower.

When we changed from tan to blue uniforms, they wanted each officer's input, so they spoke with each officer. But when it comes to writing a letter of no confidence against Chief Loera, the association took a vote with less than one-fourth of the membership present.

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And yes, I was one of the officers who voted against the letter of no confidence being written against Chief Loera.

The writer said those few officers who were not in favor of the "no confidence" vote held nice positions within the department. That is an absolute lie.

I had been assigned to a special detail, but when the patrol division became shorthanded, I was the first person Chief Loera pulled from their specialized assignment. He pulled me because of manpower shortages and for the interest of the city of El Centro, not because my time was up.

Don't you think since I'm a supporter of Chief Loera that he would have left me in my current assignment? Now I'm working the midnight shift on patrol. Nice position, huh?

The writer says good officers are leaving the department for employment elsewhere.

The writer is right. It's for better-paying jobs, not because they dislike Chief Loera or his staff.

The writer, the next time you write a letter regarding ECPD, please get all of your facts straight. I'm not saying ECPD is perfect, as every agency (public or private) has its share of problems.

If you feel there are changes that need to be made at ECPD, contact the City Council. Don't air your problems out the paper.

I don't recall seeing your name on ECPD's phone roster, so everything you have complained and wrote about in this paper was told to you by a second or third person.

You haven't personally observed retaliation; nor have you personally observed unfair and inconsistent disciplining. Furthermore, you haven't personally observed favoritism, either.

Your information was based on what the commission said and what some officers may have told you. Before making these serious allegations about Chief Loera's management skills and his integrity, you should have at least made an effort to corroborate your information.

JOHN SEAMAN

El Centro

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