Here in Philadelphia we have been listening to reports on the radio and reading articles in the newspapers about how the Latino community in Los Angeles is unhappy about the fact that Commissioner Willie L. Williams of the Philadelphia Police Department is a top candidate to replace Police Chief Daryl Gates.
As a Latino Philadelphia police officer for the past 24 years, working under Police Commissioner Williams for the past four years, I want to inform my Latino brothers in Los Angeles about my experiences with Williams. Since Willie L. Williams has become police commissioner, he has tripled the number of Latino supervisors in the Philadelphia Police Department, he has hired more Latino police officers than any previous administration, and it was under his tenure that a Community Interaction Task Force was established at East Police Division. This award-winning task force was established to promote community harmony, to facilitate services for the Latino community and to prevent racial incidents. It was also Williams who made possible the cultural awareness workshops where officers were trained on customs and culture of the various ethnic groups.
I don't want anyone to think of me as an apologist for Williams. I am a founding member of the Spanish-American Law Enforcement Assn. I am also an active member of the Fraternal Order of Police, our police union. As a matter of fact, I was an elected official of that organization. I am an active member of the Hispanic-American Command Officers Assn., and I have fought what I consider to be insensitivities in the Police Department for 24 years.
LT. JOSE M. MELENDEZ
Executive Director, Police Athletic League