To discuss the incident, I requested Chief of Police Jim McDonnell and Parks and Recreation Director Phil Hester attend. The Chief and Mr. Hester also brought key staff who are involved in the 5th Council District. City Manager Pat West also attended -- indicating that the city was taking this incident very seriously.
The following was discussed:
- A large family from Compton held its annual bbq at Pan Am park on Memorial Day. This group has done so for about 18 years without incident.
- The family did not obtain a permit from the Recreation Dept -- which is required for all groups over 25.
- A call for service came into the police about an hour before the shooting with a complaint about loud noise. The officer responded and told the group to turn the music down.
- Residents asked why the officer did not alert anyone that the group appeared to be in gang clothing, drinking beer, parking cars on the grass.
- An hour later a call for police came in about shots being fired in Pan Am.
- Police responded and the shooter escaped.
- The neighborhood wants to know what will be done to make sure this won't happen again on holidays.
- The police stressed that members of the family group are cooperating with the police.
- The Chief also stressed that the park is safe and this was an isolated incident of someone with gang affiliation coming to a family event and getting into a fight.
- The City does not fund park rangers for Pan Am park -- rangers are only in El Dorado Park.
- Residents were encouraged to join Neighborhood Watch and to call Police or Park Watch if they see suspicious activity.
- Residents were also encouraged to provide emails so that Councilwoman Schipske can send alerts.
- It was suggested by residents that permit process be tightened up and that Parks and Rec work with Police to alert them when a group of 25 or more obtains a permit.
- Introducing a council agenda item that requests the permitting process be examined and that public safety safeguards be included such as requiring notice of the Police by the Parks and Rec department whenever a permit is issued to a group of 25 or more.
- Adding a public safety fee to the permit that will help fund park rangers or a park patrol that can patrol parks and alert the police when there is a problem.
- Request that signs be posted reminding that a permit is needed and that violators will be fined and not allowed to use the park for a year. Also need to post signs that alcohol is not permitted.
- Ask the City Prosecutor whether or not the family who used the park without a permit can be cited and fined for the costs of clean up and police services.
- Assigning my council staff to check out 5th District parks on holidays and to alert police and parks if necessary.