SHOULDN’T RPD CHIEF SERGIO DIAZ HAVE BEEN SHOWN THE DOOR AGES AGO?
Should Diaz have been fired years ago? Many say yes, and are calling Diaz a “mental basket case.” The fact of the matter is that many in the community are afraid to even approach him. He is in a position of leadership, has a badge, gun and an explosive threatening behavior. The people didn’t give that power, a former City Manager (Brad Hudson) did with (we assume) the blessing of the former City Council. Why won’t they (Council) express their concerns to our new City Manager John Russo? Council is given the power by the people to hire and fire all employees under his side of the house at City Hall. What are they afraid of? Retribution? Maybe.
We saw that side of him (Diaz) during the Councilman Soubirous investigation debacle. Diaz and former City Manager Scott Barber filed a bogus third party hearsay complaint, with the help of former City Attorney Greg Priamos, against Councilman Soubirous in an attempt to politically damage him. These men used public monies and resources to execute Soubirous politically.
When the first article was released regarding the high percentage of unmarked versus marked patrol vehicles, Chief Diaz made a statement to defend his use of so many unmarked cars. His defensive posture told us something was rotten in Denmark. There are a 114 marked patrol vehicles as opposed to 169 unmarked patrol vehicles. So why the disproportionate number? Good question, one which many in the community are asking at this moment.
What we have as in the above photos is your clearly marked police vehicle (left) as opposed to the unmarked undercover take home vehicle (right). In this scene it appears they are all going to a relaxing day at Riverside’s Fairmount Park in their unmarked take home vehicle. This of course would be off the time card, but TMC has heard otherwise, that we cannot confirm. But according to the IRS there is a cost to that. The use of the vehicle for extracurricular activities can be considered income, and taxable at best.
We did an article on this very subject back in June of 2011, called, Riverside City Hall: Vehicle Ignorance Prevails: IRS Use For Public Use. But, Riverside Police Chief Sergio Diaz said repainting the cars would be a waste of money. Some officers who don’t work undercover still benefit from the lower profile of an unmarked car, he said, and simply having more black-and-whites driving around would do nothing to reduce crime, he added.
Why was Diaz deflecting from the real truth of the matter that marked vehicles are a deterrent? Ask anyone. They think marked units deter crime! The crooks do! So, are all 169 unmarked vehicles doing police work all at one time? I don’t think so. That’s part of the what is rotten in Riverside. Diaz seems to be attempting to legitimize the use of unmarked vehicles for personal use. Is he kissing up to his troops in order to buy loyalty? If this is true, Diaz is wrong. So is he attempting to cover the backs of the police union, RPOA, and continue to allow an abuse of taxpayer property? By asking these tough questions, is Soubirous really just getting to the meat of the matter of an out-of-control police culture in the City of Riverside? A culture that legitimizes the use of “unmarked vehicles” for their personal and private use without direct benefit to the public? If this is true, the taxpayers need to be reimbursed for the unmarked vehicle use for personal use. Many residents see this as simply an unauthorized use of public property or a “gift of public funds.” To many taxpayers in Riverside, this is simply “Fraud!” So where is a cop when you need them? The “Big Kahuna” Diaz has a lot of “splainin to do!”
Riverside City Councilman Mike Soubirous is asking whether repainting some of the city’s unmarked cars would help make our city’s police force more visible and help deter crime. Diaz counters this with a 50 year old “study” that seems to back Diaz assertion. We have looked on the internet and found dozens (and fairly recent) of articles that back Soubirous claims.
Soubirous, a retired California Highway Patrol officer, is questioning why the Riverside Police Department has more unmarked vehicles than marked ones and how the unmarked cars are used. He has asked the council’s public safety committee to discuss repainting some of the unmarked cars black and white.
And by the way, when will that question ever come to the committee? Soubirous is no longer chair of that committee, so is it a dead issue? Will Councilmember Jim Perry, now Chair of the Public Safety Committee, and highly supported by RPOA, do all he can to put this off till we all get old and forget? When was this referred to committee? In putting this forward, Soubirous received back-lash from Diaz, and I’m sure from President Brian Smith of the Police Union (RPOA).
This is the same union that seems to have a problem with keeping their money. money, About $300K of union funds were embezzlement right under their noses by one of their trusted clerks. If they cannot keep track of a simple bank account how can we trust their judgment? How can they protect us when they can’t even protect themselves? One of those tasked with keeping an eye on the RPOA funds was Detective Aurelio Melendrez, Vice President of RPOA, and incidentally one time treasurer and son of current City of Riverside Councilman Andy Melendrez. What kind of police associate political operation do we really have? RPOA reflects a leadership problem which we will discuss in an another upcoming article on TMC.
Getting back to that 50 year old “study” quoted by Diaz as the benchmark for having more unmarked cars than marked was an experimental study by the Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department in the early 1970s This study concluded that “routine preventive patrol in marked police cars has little value in preventing crime or making citizens feel safe.” But what it also said, and what Diaz conveniently left out was as follows:
“The officers felt that clearly marked police vehicles helped in the prevention of automobile accidents and tended to enhance citizen feelings of security. But on
the other hand, many of the officers felt that marked cars militated against the apprehension of criminals by again affording instant recognition.The general consensus among those interviewed was that officers should be allowed to drive not only departmental unmarked cars (with spotlights and two-way radio antennas) but also their own personal vehicles or cars similar to those driven by civilians.” (page 39).
So what we are saying is that if there are 169 unmarked vehicles, according to the sturdy, all 169 unmarked vehicles should be on full time patrol around our city!
The sight of a black-and-white cruiser immediately signals that an officer is on patrol, but Riverside police and most every other law enforcement agency also use plenty of unmarked vehicles to do their jobs, according to this PE article.
We have a highly paid Chief of Police who continues to harass and badger prominent community members as well as political figures, yet he still remains the Chief of Police. Is the City Manager afraid of him? Is the council afraid of him? Over the past three years Diaz has initiated a number of “foundations” that raise funds and “donate” to youth and other social causes. Does Diaz do this to solidify his standing with the public officials and prominent residents? We think so!
He has admitted that he uses on-duty officers to “assist” with these fundraising efforts – all designed by Diaz to make him look good to the public.
We say it’s time for him to go back to Los Angeles – Adios!
THE KANSAS CITY PREVENTATIVE PATROL EXPERIMENT:
CLICK THE ABOVE PAGES TO VIEW SPECIFIC CITATIONS OF THE STUDY.
What was said was as follows: Because the primary goal of the preventive patrol experiment was to measure the effectiveness of routine patrol as a crime deterrent strategy, the experiment opened to question a traditionally held theory of policing. Like other departments across the country, the Kansas City Police Department strives to attain its objectives (reduction and prevention of crime, provision of services requested by the public, maintenance of citizen feelings of security, etc.), in large part through patrol activities, including heavy reliance on routine preventive patrol. Many of the officers involved in the initial stages of the preventive patrol experiment reacted predictably to reduction in routine patrol, warning that the reduction would be quickly followed by increases in crime and citizen fear. Reaction from other officers outside the experimental area was similar. (page 37).
Unmarked cars are helpful when detectives go out to interview a sexual assault victim or burglary suspect, for example, Diaz said. That’s fine Diaz, but again that is not what the study stated. Diaz also disputed Soubirous’ suggestion that more marked cars would discourage criminal activity, and some much-cited studies seem to back Diaz.
When the second article was released, actually written by Soubirous, some individuals were stating that Councilman Mike Soubirous was only bringing this up because the Police Unions didn’t support him and he was vindictive. What we do know from City employees and observation is that Diaz does not handle criticism well, may be the reason why he was not promoted to the next level at LAPD. But maybe Diaz was a bit to close to RPOA. Specifically with RPOA President Brian Smith. We saw this dance take place whereby the two including former City Manager Scott Barber attempted to railroad Soubirous on trumped up charges. In reality, what we saw was a coups d’état, with law enforcement creating a false scenario in order to remove power from one individual, Soubirous, because their candidate, undersheriff Valerie Hill didn’t win. Extremely dangerous in a Democracy, but is the City of Riverside just seen by insiders as a “Banana Republic?” Easily taken over at a whim, because no one is watching? We also know that RPOA donated a heap of money to the Hill campaign, of course less than what was embezzled. What Diaz didn’t mention but Soubirous did was the following. Last year, the Riverside City Council, at the urging of our police chief, traded personal use of manager take-home cars for a pay increase. Prior to the change, managers, by negotiated labor contract, were entitled to use the city’s car as their own personal vehicle off-duty. Family and friends could ride along on trips or simply go wherever the employee wished. There was no limit to this benefit, which was fully funded by the public. Was this perk justifiable? I don’t think so, again if this is not reported to the IRS, there is “fraud” involved, and Diaz should know everything about the term “fraud.”
What seems to be the problem is that we have a culture of public servants who feel this is okay, that they deserve it, they are entitled and the taxpayer should pay for this. Problem is that this attitude is wrong, deceptive and actually theft of public property.
In an Opinion piece in the PE, Soubirous stated, “Just because we have always done it this way, doesn’t mean it is the best practice. In today’s economy, we must get the best bang for our buck. We owe it to our residents and taxpayers. The time has come to look at all available options, and if need be, take another route”. Somehow there has been a culture of entitlement. Recently, when the Greater Riverside Chamber was questioned regarding taxpayer monies given to them, Roth’s response was that “We’ve been doing this for 35 years.” It’s time for many of the these Riverside non-profits to make it on their own, just as the rest of us hard working taxpayers. No more hand outs or public welfare to friends and associates. In some instances, it’s been evident that some of these non-profits couldn’t exist without taxpayer monies. In another instance, its been evident that a union who is highly connected to RPD, Riverside Police Officers Association (RPOA), cannot even run their own ship. But come on guys, and embezzlement loss of over $300K?
Getting back to unmarked vehicles…on the other hand, if an officer is attempting to enforce the law in an unmarked vehicle, that of course, brings to light another set of problems.
I’m not sure which is more amazing. An elected official, Ward 3 Councilman Mike Soubirous, actually campaigning against wasteful government spending in the City, or comments by the mysterious “John Smith” slamming him for it. When I read Mr. Smiths comments, it was obvious that he was an RPD insider. The “Smith” name also rang a bell. A search of the PE archives concerning John Smith yielded an RCC basketball coach. A highly unlikely candidate to be the writer. Searching for Soubirous, turned up the logical explanation. When Soubirous was under attack by the City Manager and Police Chief, the Chief’s complaint against the Councilman was based on a statement allegedly made to a Sgt. Brian Smith, head of the Riverside Police Union. The Chief never actually heard the statement himself, but hearsay was adequate for him. After being called on the carpet by Soubirous and Ward 4 Councilman Davis, the rest of the City Council decided it was best to walk away from the allegations. Union President Smith stated that Soubirous tried to “big league” him. “John Smith’s” Facebook page shows a picture of Babe Ruth! Tie that to the threat “Mike is taking another shot at the cops because they did not and will not support him in elections.” Hello! You supported him when he ran for County Supervisor. That threat of “union power” leads to only one plausible deductive conclusion. John Smith IS Brian Smith.Brian Smith was either President or Vice-President of the union while over $300k of union members money was embezzled by a civilian employee of the union. How embarrassing! That’s like having to call up and report your police car got stolen. Brian’s predecessor and mentor to the union Presidency position got into all kinds of hot water in LA and Orange County by trying to bully elected officials. Looks like Brian has learned his daddy’s lessons well. Now he’s trying to bully electeds.I don’t know when the unions contract is up for renewal, but I’d be willing to bet that they try to get this $5M perk tied into it. I’m sure that Riverside residents will be more than happy to provide this “free” transportation to their already highly paid officers on the working and taxpaying public’s dime (dripping sarcasm). It would probably be a smart idea for the union members to give some serious thought to a new leader.
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CITY OF RIVERSIDE COURTHOUSE CIRCA 1910
PHOTOGRAPH OF LAWN BOWLS AT FAIRMOUNT PARK RIVERSIDE CALIFORNIA (UNDATED)
IS RPD HOLDING ON TIGHTLY? DO THE TROOPS WANT DIAZ TO GO?
TMC, RATED RIVERSIDE’S REGIONAL COUNTIES MOST, “NEGATIVE,” “RAUNCHY,” “LOW CLASS,” “VISIONS OF GRANDEUR,” “FULL OF B.S.,” “IGNORANT,” “MISGUIDED,” “BULLYISH,” “FILTHY,” “SICK,” “PERVERTED,” “STUPID,” “PATHETIC,” “DESPICABLE,” “DISAPPOINTING,” “BELOW THE BELT,” “A NEW LOW,” “SHOCKING,” “OFFENSIVE,” “INAPPROPRIATE,” “HURTFUL,” “MEAN SPIRITED,” “DISTASTEFUL,” “EMBARRASSING,” HORIFFIC,” “SLANDEROUS” “FIT TO BE VIEWED FROM THE REAR” AND
MEZZSPELLED, “MISSPELLED” AND “OPINIONATED” BLOG SITE! TEMPORARILY BLOCKED BY THE CITY OF RIVERSIDE AT PUBLIC ACCESS SITES WITHIN THE CITY, THEN UNBLOCKED. I GUESS YOU CANNOT DO THAT ACCORDING TO THE ACLU. RATED ONE TWO ONE STAR OUT OF FIVE IN TERMS OF COMMUNITY APPROVAL RATINGS.. TMC IS NOW EXCLUSIVLY EXCLUSIVELY ON FILE WITH THE COUNTY OF RIVERSIDE’S DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S OFFICE (WE BELIEVE THIS WILL END SOON, SINCE THE FOCUS IS NOW ON THE IMPROPRIETIES OF MR. “Z”. WE TRIED TO TELL YOU, BUT NOBODY LISTENED), AND DON’T FORGET WE ARE PROSSIBLY POSSIBLY ON FILE WITH THE CITY OF RIVERSIDE’S POTENTIAL SLAPP SUIT LIST… A STRATEGIC LEGAL MANEUVER THAT CAN BE DONE ONLY IN RIVERSIDE WITHOUT A CONTRACT… AGAIN, THANK YOU COMMUNITY OF RIVERSIDE AND THE CITY OF RIVERSIDE EMPLOYEE’S FOR YOUR SUPPORT!