The City Council, with one member absent, split this week on a motion to ask voters whether the city should disband its police force and contract its public safety services from the county Sheriff's Department.
Councilman C. L. (Clay) Bryant, a longtime critic of the Police Department, had sought the ballot measure, arguing that citizens are dissatisfied with police efforts to fight gang activity and drug dealing in their neighborhoods. Having Pomona patrolled by sheriff's deputies could eventually save the city $5 million, Bryant said.
The motion was supported by Councilwoman Nell Soto but opposed by Mayor Donna Smith and Councilman Mark Nymeyer, who questioned Bryant's cost-cutting estimates and his motives.
"I think it would be fair to call this a bomb," Nymeyer said. "There are lots of things that can destory the morale of a group of employees and this ranks at the top of the list. It's unfortunate that the Police Department is the subject of so much negative input from a member of the council."
Bryant said after the meeting that his proposal was simply "a trial balloon" intended to send a message to police, who have been accused of harassment and brutality toward residents. "They'd better clean up their act, become professionals and start acting like policemen," Bryant said.