Choosing a New Longmont Chef – Longmont Times-Call
I read the main article of July 16 in The Times-Call describing the candidates for the post of Chief of Public Safety. And then read it again. Something was missing. The short paragraphs describing the general qualifications of five men did not mention restorative justice and community relations. Huh? Please tell me that there was not enough room for these details and not that applicants have no experience in these two very important areas.
Is there any evidence that these men can communicate with us? This ability was the first thing I noticed about the Longmont Police Chief when we moved in here. Our then leader regularly revealed the policies and procedures in the columns of the TC Opinion page. He carried this message by speaking to local community groups.
Longmont has been served by the principles of restorative justice for over 26 years through the Longmont Community Justice Partnership, LCJP. Resident volunteers work with our police to reintegrate people who have broken the laws into the community, not just send them to jail. During those 26 years, over 4,000 adult and young adult offenders have been retained in the community and guided to become better citizens. Think about it. Nationally, the recidivism rate for those incarcerated for crimes in the criminal justice system is approximately 67%. Here, this rate is less than 10%. It is a resounding success.
Our police officers have been trained and are authorized to place offenders in a restorative justice process, not send them to jail or hand over a subpoena. In addition, the main selection criterion for our municipal judge was the belief in the application of restorative justice.
Hopefully there is more to this story than what has been made public. What were the KSAs (knowledge, skills and aptitudes required) for candidates for the post of Chief of Public Security?
These candidates prove another point that sources told me. Longmont’s public safety program is unique. Just look at the last five candidates. None come from programs like ours. They are either police experts or firefighters, not both. In addition, other cities and states come to Longmont for restorative justice training, as our LCJP is the best in the country with the numbers to back it up. All of this begs the question: why was someone within our public safety program not selected? Did no one from the former chief’s staff apply? And, if not, have there been any efforts to encourage their candidacy?
Begging more questions: where are the women and minorities among the five finalists? How can a former state soldier about to retire, or a planner / analyst from a city of 6,800 in Georgia relate to a city of 100,000 with 33% Latino residents? ? Plus, anyone with local knowledge knows that the city of Denver has a less than stellar reputation for public safety.
I urge you to watch the video Q&A of these five candidates answering questions from the public. You can find it on the city’s website. So let Sandra Seader, Deputy City Manager, hear from you. [email protected]
Bill Ellis has been a restorative justice advocate and a resident of Longmont since 2002. Reply to [email protected]