Alita Godwin, City Clerk
The city is moving ahead at full speed in an effort to get its citizens involved in whether or not to bring back the Compton Police Department.
By Francis Taylor
Sentinel Contributing Writer
As was reported in the Sentinel two weeks ago, “Compton Residents Want Police Dept. Back.” Beginning tonight, two town hall meetings will be held by Councilwoman Lillie Dobson (District 2) and Councilman Dr. Willie O. Jones (District 4) in their respective districts, from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
In reaching out to City Clerk Alita Godwin, a resident of Compton, to comment, as a concerned private citizen, on the possibility of returning the Compton Police Department (CPD). She said, “As a private citizen, I think it’s a good thing for the city to have its own police department and me personally, before I started working in the city clerk’s office, I actually worked for the Compton Police Department, and it was my start into the city of Compton. I have a place in my heart for Compton P.D.
“Now I understand that it won’t be the same,” she continued, “the same people that I grew up under, but I always thought that the police department was a sense of family to me and that will be one of the things I hope we can get back. I thought the police department was a family to the community that everybody could relate to; it was like–and this is my opinion–it was people that you can trust and people you could go to. So it’s a sense of family for me.”
The other two council districts–Councilwoman Barbara J. Calhoun (District 1) and Councilwoman Yvonne Arceneaux (District 3)–will hold their town hall meetings on Saturday 22 from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at Gonzales Park and Burrell MacDonald Park respectively.
When the aforementioned study was in the formative stages, the soundness of the approach suggests that the mayor and the other elected officials want to make sure that bringing back the Compton Police Department and all of the added responsibilities–economic and otherwise–would be in the best interest of the residents and the businesses, and that it would be done after a very comprehensive feasibility study. And Mayor Eric Perrodin was all in favor of it.
At that time, he said, “I never made it a secret, I always thought that it would be best to have your own police department. We haven’t conducted a fiscal study but if the city has enough money and if it’s something that we believe our constituents want, definitely we’re going to have our own police department. We won’t be bringing back Compton P. D. per se. There are a lot of aspects to this; we can have a metropolitan-type police department similar to Washington and Las Vegas where we can also incorporate the Compton Unified School District police and the Compton College police. We want to make it comprehensive so if it does happen, it is something that the citizens want.”
And that is what the town hall meetings are all about–giving the citizens a voice in their own city government.