“Well, today we went out to meet with the new police chief and see what the priorities are within the community when it comes to our crime issues,” said Palm Springs resident Manny Padilla. .
Like Padilla, that’s been the goal of dozens of Palm Springs residents this week.
In an effort to combat rising crime in the city, the Palm Springs Police Department has been holding a series of town hall meetings since Tuesday asking the community for input.
On Friday night, the department held its fourth town hall meeting at Palm Springs High School.
These meetings are designed for neighborhoods, community stakeholders, and the police to meet face-to-face to discuss issues occurring in the city and find an effective problem-solving process.
The department’s newest chief, Andrew Mills, says meetings like these are crucial in helping the community and the department create crime-fighting priorities to help build an effective neighborhood policing program.
“We want to make sure that we really think about how we fight crime from a community perspective and that’s a way for us to get started and help us figure out what their top priorities are,” explained the Chief Mills.
The first half of each meeting focuses on what Palm Springs sees as the police mission, while the second half is spent reviewing heatmaps, crime data, and a chance to say what the department priorities.
So what did people say?
“I’m really surprised at how many people think gun violence is a major issue here because I haven’t quite seen it,” Padilla said. “I’m not surprised that homeless people are people’s biggest concern.”
But it’s not just gun violence and homelessness that people are concerned about.
Padilla continued, “There have been a number of times where we have been out on the streets where you see some of these people who are clearly under the influence and are engaging in all kinds of erratic behaviors, so I think that is part of what the population sees a lot of things and wants us to deal with.
PSPD has another public meeting on Saturday at Demuth Park from 4-5 p.m.