Santa Ana : 2nd Group to Meet With Police Over Drug Issues

Angered by open drug sales and what residents said is a "lack of police effort" to combat the problem, members of a second Santa Ana neighborhood group to raise concerns about inadequate policing were scheduled to meet tonight with Deputy Police Chief Eugene Hansen to discuss solutions.

"We have a lot of obvious drug activity going on right now, and nothing is being done about it," said Melvin Davis, who is part of a church-neighborhood coalition formed to address the problem.

Davis said Sunday that police response times were the primary issue.

"We're not against the police, we just want the working relationship to be strengthened," he said.

Davis said Hansen was asked to respond to their concerns by the parish members of Immaculate Heart of Mary Church on South Center Street and a neighborhood group.

Only two weeks ago, Hansen spoke before 400 residents frustrated by the same problem in a similar working-class neighborhood in west Santa Ana.

Although Hansen denied that the Police Department was ignoring the area's problems, many residents remained unconvinced that the department was doing all it can to fight the drug problem on their streets.

Davis said about 30% of that west Santa Ana neighborhood overlaps his own, which he described as south of First Street near McFadden Avenue and Raitt Street.

More than 200 residents are expected to attend tonight's meeting. The majority, Davis said, are hoping to join with police to combat the drug problem, Davis said.

A news release calling attention to the drug problem said: "The situation is causing a loss of faith on the part of the families who feel that it is useless to call the police at all.

"The result: Crime is increasing. Drug dealing is now conducted openly and without concern for police arrest," the release said.

The meeting is at 7:30 p.m. in Parish Hall of Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, 1100 S. Center St.

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