GLENDALE — Despite an eight-month-long hiatus, the little attended advisory council set up to act as police department liaison to the public will continue, Police Chief Ron De Pompa said.
The seven-member Glendale Police Advisory Council, which used to meet monthly before paring down to once quarterly, last met in April, canceling the July and October meetings due to a lack of quorum and scheduling conflicts, according to city reports.
Still, De Pompa said the advisory council, essentially a subcommittee of the larger Community-Police Partnership Advisory Committee, provided a valuable forum for residents who want to air grievances, questions and concerns about the department. Maintaining the advisory council, he said, "gives people a piece of mind."
"Sometimes having the avenue is more important than its use," De Pompa said.
But the consistent lack of public participation has created a noticeable void when the council does meet, said member Sam Manoukian, who also serves as chairman of the Civil Service Commission.
"We really don't have any issues that need to be addressed," he said.
Manoukian said he spoke with the Glendale Police Department's command staff about no longer holding the advisory council meetings. Other forums, including the Civil Service Commission, Community-Police Partnership Advisory Committee, which allows public comment and attendance for 15 minutes each meeting, and City Council exist to allow the community to voice their concerns, he added.
And the Police Department, he said, often handles complaints swiftly.
"Personally, I really don't see the need to hold the meetings," Manoukian said.
Advisory committee member Roobik Ovanesian said that if other members want to discuss the group's fate, the issue could be brought up at their Jan. 17 meeting, but declined to divulge his own feelings on the issue.
The group was created in 2008 by former Glendale Police Chief Randy Adams, who was recently forced to step down as police chief for the city of Bell amid the burgeoning pay scandal there.
At the time, Adams said he created the group after residents expressed a need for transparency and a public forum to address the department.
Discussions over whether a police advisory council was needed came to the forefront that same year when a flier that a Police Department employee made several years ago depicting a patrol car sporting the word "Vostikan" — which means "police" in Armenian — was made public at a City Council meeting.
The flier prompted an internal investigation when it was created, and the employee was disciplined, city officials said.
Since the advisory council was formed, some residents have voiced their concerns about the Police Department and other public safety issues at meetings, member Rick Barnes said.
More advertising about the forum is needed to increase participation, he said, adding that it was a vital source for the public, and could be even more so if given more responsibility.
"I want to see that we are doing the right thing," Barnes said.
The advisory council's role should expand to include taking in all city complaints, including any about the City Council, he added.
"I think there is value in it," he said. "I see it as an outlet."