SEASIDE, Calif. - Demanding the termination of its current police chief and asking for a full-time replacement. That's the resounding message coming from a group of residents in Seaside, during a time when violent crime is on the rise.
Seaside's City Council meeting on Thursday night was packed with emotion. About a dozen people expressed their frustrations with a recent spike in violence, following four homicides this year so far. A packet was handed out by these enraged residents, calling for the resignation of Police Chief Vicki Meyers.
"Just so happened this week on Sunday, I decided to clean out his car again. In the seat I find a bullet," said Jeanesta Linen, the sister of 28-year-old Ralph Wynn, who was gunned down last month on General Jim Moore Blvd.
She expressed her dissatisfaction with the investigation into her brother's death by the Seaside Police Department. Police said he didn't have any gang ties.
"We are standing firm together and we believe that things need to change because he shouldn't have had to die the way that he did," Linen said.
She's standing behind a group of residents, calling for the removal of police chief. Last year the police association voted no confidence in Chief Meyers.
"In talking with many of the folks in Seaside including the officers, she has decimated our department, decimated our force," said North Seaside Neighborhood Watch member Keith Emery.
Right now the department has 37 sworn officers, one new hire and four vacancies. Meyers said she needs more officers and help from the community to bring the violent crime rate down. But she said her officers are making sacrifices to keep the community safe.
"There's certain things I think I'm very fair but firm and sometimes its very hard for people to adjust to that," Meyers said.
Meyers said Seaside has about 200 known gang members and their affiliations are multi-generational. Council members said that means, by some degree, people in Seaside know who's responsible for Wynn's slaying and need to help police by coming forward.
Meyers said she's made some big changes over the past few years. She feels a fear of change may be causing some to see disagree with her job performance.