Local News

Friday, May 24 2013 10:32 AM

'First Look': BPD chief talks about citizens review boards, most wanted and more

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    Bakersfield Police Chief Greg Williamson on "First Look with Scott Cox" on Friday.

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By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN

Bakersfield Police Chief Greg Williamson reiterated his stance against police citizen review boards during an appearance Friday on "First Look with Scott Cox."

He noted that a lot of cities that have them have been commanded by higher authorities to establish them. But Williamson said the BPD has seven full-time people in internal affairs with more than 100 years of law enforcement experience combined to do that work.

Plus, the public can go to many higher authorities that have subpoena powers, he said, including the grand jury, the Kern County District Attorney, the FBI and the DOJ. Several layers of oversight exist, Williamson said.

And who would serve on such a citizens review board?, Williamson said. While such a board could look at a criminal investigation, it wouldn't have accesss to an officer's personnel file and thus would only have partial information.

Simulcast host Scott Cox also brought up Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood's Thursday news conference, during which the sheriff announced that David Sal Silva's in-custody death was accidental.

"I would say it was a little tense," Williamson said of the news conference, which he said Youngblood asked him to attend. He said he was as interested as anyone to hear the sheriff's report.

He said he thought Youngblood did a good job of taking a stance for the guys who work for him.

Cox said Youngblood seemed to blame the media; Williamson said he thought the sheriff was forceful, but he was making the point "that citizens need to be patient and wait for the evidence."

Williamson said he agrees with that: "We deal in facts. We can't deal on the emotion of the case."

The chief also:

* Highlighted five of the department's most wanted suspects. (See photos above.)

* Talked about residential burglaries. He said he knows of at least three instances in the last week in which guns were stolen during burglaries. Cox said he knows a man whose safe was stolen, and urged people to bolt them down.

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