“Well, today we came out to meet the new police chief and see what the priorities are within the community as far as our crime issues go,” said Palm Springs local Manny Padilla.
Like Padilla, this has been the goal of dozens of Palm Springs locals this week.
In an effort to combat rising crime across the city, the Palm Springs Police Department has been hosting a series of town hall meetings asking the community for their input since Tuesday.
Friday evening, the department hosted its fourth town hall meeting at the Palm Springs High School.
These meetings are designed to have neighborhoods, community stakeholders and police meet face-to-face to talk about issues that are happening across the city and figure out an efficient problem solving process.
The department’s newest chief, Andrew Mills, says meetings like these are crucial to help the community and the department alike create crime-fighting priorities to help build an effective neighborhood policing program.
“We want to make sure that we are really being thoughtful about how we fight crime from the community’s perspective and this is one way for us to get jump started and to help us figure out what their highest priorities are,” Chief Mills explained.
The first part of each meeting focuses on what Palm Springs sees as the mission of the police, while the second half is dedicated to looking at heat maps, crime data and a chance to say what they want the department’s priorities to be.
So, what have people been saying?
“I’m really surprised at the amount of people who think gun violence is a major issue out here because I haven’t quite seen that,” Padilla said. “I’m not surprised by the unhoused being the biggest concern people have.”
But it’s not just gun violence and the unhoused that people are concerned about.
Padilla continued, “There have been a number of times where we have been out on the street where you see some of these people that are clearly under the influence and they are doing all sorts of erratic behaviors so I think that is part of what the population is seeing a lot of and wants to have addressed.”
PSPD has one more town hall meeting on Saturday at Demuth Park from 4 to 5 p.m.