Based on various community surveys, when asked what residents’ priorities are, public safety always comes in at the top of the list. This is probably not surprising to most — we all want to live in a safe community. The confidence in knowing that safety is a priority where we all work, live and play contributes to our overall quality of life and satisfaction in our community.

During my previous time on Council, I was appointed to the League of California Cities, Public Safety Policy Committee in 2013 and continued to serve on the committee through 2018. During that period of time I was also active on the regional level with the LCC and served for two years as the president of the Channel Counties Division, which is comprised of San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura County cities.

For those who are unaware of the purpose of the League of California Cities, the LCC is an association of California city officials who work together to enhance their knowledge and skills, exchange information, and combine resources so that they may influence policy decisions that affect cities.

My service on the Public Safety Committee involved discussions and subsequent recommendations to the board of directors on a number of significant issues. The committee made recommendations regarding the use of body-worn cameras by law enforcement personnel, various proposed bills dealing with the heroin epidemic and human trafficking, and continuously advocated for more funds toward mental health services, drone policies to establish penalties for interfering with fire operations and beyond. Additional recommendations regarding issues involving the fire service and emergency medical services were discussed and put forth to the board of directors.

I presented a number of items to the committee during my tenure, including a discussion on the monitoring of sex offenders, and the management and oversight of the Adult Prohibited Possessors System (APPS). The APPS list relates to who cannot legally receive or possess firearms and/or ammunition for a number of reasons including past illegal activity.

I continued the latter discussion even after I left the Council in 2018. At that time, I worked with Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin on recommendations that funding for the enforcement of the APPS list be directed to local law enforcement. Previously, funding had been provided at the state level to the Department of Justice who had limited success in removing firearms from the hands of those prohibited possessors. My efforts led to a 3-county pilot program, Ventura County being one of the pilot counties, that has already demonstrated that local law enforcement is best suited to carry out enforcement efforts. Locally, more firearms have been removed from prohibited persons in this past year since the pilot than were seized during the previous several years combined by the DOJ.

In the wake of the Borderline shooting, I also worked with now-retired Sheriff Geoff Dean and Assemblymember Irwin’s office in proposing a bill, subsequently signed by the Governor’s office, that made changes to the manner in which firearms can be seized in the event law enforcement becomes aware they are in the hands of an individual who may be experiencing a mental crisis.

In addition to the above-mentioned public safety-related issues, I want to take a moment to acknowledge that public safety is a complex issue that spans many areas — not just traditional areas of crime prevention. Public safety means that we, as a community, prioritize the safety of every resident in our City. It means that we assess the collective need of the City and identify areas to increase safety as it relates to each and every person’s quality of life and to our overall needs as a City. I look forward to hearing from you about what you believe public safety means, and where we as a City can continue to improve upon in areas perhaps not yet addressed, and that I can give a voice to as your council member.