Changes to Community Oriented Policing affect Salinas PD

SALINAS, Calif. - A nationwide change to the way the Department of Dustice works with some police departments was announced Friday and it's having an impact on at least one Central Coast department.

"As far as our services go, nothing is going to change," said Salinas Police Chief Adele Fresé.

Fresé says this change from the federal goverment won't affect the department's efforts to strengthen its relationship with the community.

"We will continue to examine our practices and policies," Fresé said, "This is something that really never ends at any police department."

The collaborative reform program reviewed police departments and worked to improve their relationships with the community.

In a statement, Attorney General Jeff Sessions says "This is a course correction to ensure that resources go to agencies that require assistance rather than expensive wide-ranging investigative assessments that go beyond the scope of technical assistance and support."

In Salinas, The DOJ's help was brought in at the request of former police chief Kelly McMillan after four officer involved shootings in 2014.

All officers involved in those shootings were cleared of any wrongdoing but there was concern over a strained relationship between police and the public.

When it started, the DOJ's report outlined 61 findings with 110 recommendations to improve community trust, police policies along with accountability and internal communication. The goal was to take care of those recommnedations within 18 months, a deadline that would have come up in October.

"As of today, we have made progress, "Fresé said, "We are at 45 percent completion of the recommendations which I think is huge. Eighty-two percent of that has been done just this year alone."

Though the Colloborative Reform Initiative is finished, Chief Adele Fresé says they will continue to work on the remaining recommendations and engaging the community.

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