Police chief finalists share how the Black Lives Matter movement would impact their approach to the job
City officials said a decision is anticipated to be made at the end of September
VICTORIA, Texas – The three finalists for Victoria Police Department Chief each had their own room for a meet-and-greet with community members Wednesday evening. There are several police chief openings across the nation, and some of the candidates said they were considering Abilene but that Victoria made for a more favorable option.
Here’s what each candidate had to say when asked how worldwide calls for social injustice reform in connection to police brutality would inform their work as police chief:
“Being that these protests and civil unrest are cyclical, it’s my approach for the next 30 years to make sure we’re not in the same position again,” Vernell Dooley, Jr. said.
“Let folks air their grievances so that we can have a clear understanding of where our challenges are, look for where we can find commonalities and where we can where we can come together and try to air those grievances and hopefully come to an understanding to where we’re working in transparency and working as partners,” Roberto (Robert) Arredondo, Jr. said.
“And we also need to listen to what folks are saying across the country, our criminal justice system is the best in the world but it can always use reform,” George (Rich) Austin, Jr. said.
The Victoria Police Department, along with the sheriff’s office, the school district, and the fire department, all have long-standing retention, competitive pay issues, here’s how each candidate said would they approach the issue.
“Comparing our salaries to our surrounding areas and I’m actually beta-testing a software that allows local governments to compare salaries more easily,” Dooley said.
“Well, it’s something that obviously needs to be worked out with the council and city government, city manager. I know the city manager is aware of it, he and I have spoken about it and I know it is important to him to address the retention issue,” Arredondo said.”
“Certainly pay is a part of that but also ensuring knowing our officers they are appreciated, providing officers the equipment they need to get their jobs done,” Austin said.
City officials said a decision is anticipated to be made by the end of September, but if none of the three turns out to be a good match, then the search will continue.
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