SLPD Criticized

SAN LUIS, Ariz. – At least three police chiefs have been in charge of the San Luis Police Department in the last year, including former Calexico police Chief Jim Neujahr, who only stayed five months in San Luis. Some say this instability has created a gap between the community and the department.
“People have to be comfortable when a police officer drives up instead of intimidated and because of what’s been happening over the years. There’s a lot of people who just don’t trust police officers or the police department.” says business owner David Lara, who considers himself a community leader against political and police corruption.
Lara is one of many residents concerned for the department. He gave us one example of instability; between May 13th and May 14th the latest police chief, Victor Figueroa, resigned then was re-instated.

“Not all the officers are bad, I would say most of the officers are honest and they are hard-working and loyal and so forth, but there’s a group that is the old guard and they have a strong hold and they’re taking control of the police department and that’s what the problem is.” says Lara.

City officials like Tadeo De La Hoya say the police department continues to serve the community with or without a police chief.

“The fact that chiefs come and go hasn’t diminished their services to the community so we’re still doing with the best we can with the resources we have.” says De La Hoya.

As far as the alleged gap between the community and the department, De La Hoya says it’s a matter of opinion.

“Policing and patrolling and our services in our city are still going on with the same quality for all of our residents and we are working I guess on improving the relationship.” says De La Hoya.

About The Author

Eduardo Santiago joined the FOX 9 and ABC 5 news team in February, 2012. That’s the same year KECY launched its very first local newscast. He has been covering local news in Yuma and the Imperial Valley since his start as a KYMA photojournalist in 2006. During his decade in broadcasting, Eduardo has covered some of the biggest stories in the Desert Southwest – from President Bush’s visit to Yuma, Ariz. to the uncovering of drug tunnels that span the US-Mexico border. One of the most memorable stories Eduardo covered was the 2010 Easter Earthquake that rocked the Imperial Valley, Mexicali, and Yuma. Eduardo, along with his news team, won an award from the Associated Press for best coverage of an ongoing story following the quake. Before he made his move to TV, Eduardo was just a kid born in East Los Angeles, where he spent his early childhood. His parents moved him to Mexicali, B.C. Mexico, where he did most of his elementary school education. He finally landed in El Centro, where he graduated from Central Union High School in 2005. Eduardo is currently a student at Imperial Valley College. You can find Eduardo hanging out in the Imperial Valley and Yuma with his family on any given weekend. His off-screen passion is playing guitar and sports.

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