Santa Monica Police Polices & Politics #363-364


Who sets Police Policy in Santa Monica? – Part 1  Santa Monica, Police Chief James T. Butts, Jr. said “95 to 98 percent of policy changes made in the Department are made by the Chief of Police.” “That is what you pay a police chief to do, to be a subject matter expert, to be a policy maker and to be a decision maker.” “When I came (to Santa Monica) the policy allowed us to shoot at fleeing felons. I changed that” “Now there’s a requirement there has to be a threat or imminent threat of danger to an officer, a citizen or another officer, before deadly force could be used.” When asked if he consulted with the police union on policy he said, “they do have a vested interest but they are not the determinant of policy.” And does the city council ever dictate policy? Chief Butts says, NEVER.. The reality in our system of government in Santa Monica the council is a broad policy-making body for the city as a whole. They work through the City Manager, who works with the department heads of which I am one. The reality is that while input may be given …the ultimate decision-maker…is the Chief of Police.”

Emmy-winning Chief Works With Media To Solve Crime – Part 2  Having been featured on the national news jogging with then-President Bill Clinton, Santa Monica Police Chief James T. Butts Jr. is the media representative for his department. “There is a whole different dynamic when it comes to getting in front of microphones…” “…and police chiefs, by the nature of our experience in our jobs, tend to develop more experience and expertise in dealing with those interviews.” After explaining the purpose of his new SWAT team and how he works with the police union, the Chief underlined how he works with the media to solve crimes. The Chief says “Santa Monica is a place of interest for the media. I think to a large degree they like to hang out there and dine at our restaurants as well. But it comes with the position. And wherever there’s a major crime of any import in our City, it gets a lot of media attention.”

Chief Butts has won an Emmy for Executive Producing a short documentary entitled “Every 15 Minutes For My Friends.”

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