City turns to community leaders to reduce crime

Posted at 5:24 PM, Nov 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-20 22:54:42-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- The city of San Diego has turned to two community leaders to assist with gang prevention and improve communication between police and the community.

Mayor Kevin Faulconer on Tuesday announced the hiring of Rev. Gerald Brown to oversee police-community relations, and Pastor Jesus Sandoval to lead its commission on gang prevention.

"At age 16 I had been shot and stabbed, didn't think I would make it to 18," said Sandoval, once in a gang himself. "Since then I've been dedicating my life to helping other people."

Brown will take over the Citizens Advisory Board on Police-Community relations, which meets monthly at various locations in the city. He said he is already working on arranging for clergy to spend 10 hours a month with police.

Brown also wants to make himself accessible to the community and says he will bring concerns directly to the chief of police. 

"Really focus on how do we bring communities together? How do we bridge that gap, especially when working with African American community and law enforcement, find ways we can seek peace," he said. 

But some say the city needs to do more. 

Kate Yavenditti is a member of Women Occupy San Diego, which is seeking more police oversight. She said she has been attending the police-community relations meetings for about two years and hasn't seen many results.

She said she would like the groups to be more than just advisory.

"So they can send recommendations up to the mayor and the mayor doesn't have to make any changes, and that's pretty much what's been happening," she said.

The police-community relations board next meets 6 p.m. Monday at the Taylor Branch Library in Pacific Beach.