(City of Merced release)
An advisory committee to review the Merced Police Department policies and procedures was introduced to the public by Merced Mayor Mike Murphy today during a morning news conference.
Noting that it was exactly a month since the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers, Murphy said the committee’s purpose was “to understand what our Department is doing well, and where we can improve within the bounds of California state law.”
Murphy said he worked with Council member Delray Shelton and other Council members in selecting the committee members.
“Many people on this advisory committee have had both positive and negative experiences with law enforcement,” Murphy said. “The life experiences of the committee members and the professional experiences of our police officers are both important and necessary parts of this discussion.”
Murphy said he supported the men and women in the Department, who are “some of the best around. They are talented, professional, and run toward danger to protect us when others run away.”
Dee Tatum, a retired CEO of Merced County and retired Air Force officer, will chair the committee. Tatum said he expects the meetings to be “very spirited and very open.
“I have no agenda,” Tatum said. “I want to represent all of Merced.”
Interim Police Chief Tom Cavallero said he will be working with the group to develop better policies.
“Law enforcement policies are, and always have been, evolving documents,” Cavallero said, and they change to meet the needs of the public. ”They must also necessarily reflect the expectations of that community.”
Besides Tatum, the members of the Committee are: Rhonda Batson, Allen Brooks, Wil Dean, Nailah Hubbard, Cesar “C-Flo” Johnson, Sharon Jones, Edwin Kainth, See Lee, Kari May, Nellie McGarry, Robert Morris, Rudy Sanchez, Al Schaap, Shane Smith, Gabriela Spiva, Moua Thao and Tatiana Vizcaino.
The date for the first meeting is pending. The committee will report back to the City Council with its recommendations within 90 days.