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Delano community members protest hiring process of new police chief

Police Chief Protest, Delano
Police Chief Tyson Davis, Delano
Posted at 4:47 PM, Oct 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-25 22:46:20-04

DELANO, Calif. (KERO) — While Delano City Council members and Kern County's district attorney celebrated the swearing-in of the new Delano police chief some community members are not content with the hiring of the new police chief.

The community members who were present at Monday's ceremony told 23ABC they have been trying to reach out to the city council since September about the process of choosing the new chief of staff.

Police Chief Tyson Davis, Delano

Delano began their search for a new police chief in July after former Police Chief Robert Nevarez retired. On Monday Tyson Davis was sworn in to take over the position.

However, the community law enforcement liaison board, which was created to increase community participation in the Delano police department and promote police-community relations said the board was not included in this decision, and noted a lack of transparency.

"No one was aware that the process was even happening, that a new chief was going to be sworn in, but they thought the interim chief was it. So how much are you really getting in community input when the community thinks the interim chief is the permanent chief," explained Monike Renozo, the vice-chairperson for Community Law Enforcement Liaison Board.

Delano City Manager Maribel Reyna, who oversaw the process, told 23ABC that an email explaining the interview process was sent to the Loud for Tomorrow organization explaining there were panels made up of representatives from school districts, the chamber of local business, hospital district as well as CHP, DEA, and city councilmembers.

“These panels were comprised of community stakeholders including representatives of the school districts, the chamber and local businesses, the hospital district, faith-based organizations, and our youth. There was a panel of representatives from agencies that the chief would typically work closely with, such as the CHP, DEA, KCDA, and police chiefs from other cities. The city’s five councilmembers served on different panels but all had an opportunity to provide their input and the police officers employees union representatives are also provided time to meet and ask questions of the different applicants.”

But those protesting had more concerns than just the process it took to hire the new police chief.

"Delano, half of the population is undocumented, so we want a police chief that commits to not working with ICE and shows that they here to really truly work with the community of Delano and to make them feel safe," said Jose Orellano, the co-director of Loud for Tomorrow.

The board added Tyson Davis is also not a Delano native which they believe is monumental in understanding the community.

New Police Chief Tyson Davis argued he spent a year and a half working at the KCSO Delano substation during which he created ties to the community and but acknowledged the challenges ahead.

"Delano is a large diverse community. It is growing. There is a lot of activity. Many citizens, lot of people coming in for work, driving out of the community, there is a lot of traffic issues. Like all other cities, we have our problems with crime and quality of life issues and those are things we are looking to get involved with and address."

And even though Chief Davis said he was not aware of the protest outside during the swearing-in ceremony he does support people’s right to protest.

"If people want to speak out and say things that are not in favor of me, that is their right. I will listen to what they have to say and evaluate what I am doing and I am always going to use my moral compass to move forward."

23ABC tried to speak with the city manager, but she was not available for comment.

The community organizers said they have a petition with about 100 signatures so far from community members who feel they were also left out and hope the city council will restart the process. They also hope going forward there is more communication between the community and the police department.

As for the new police chief, he said this situation could mean communication can be improved.