H-SANTA MARIA

Mar 7, 2012 2:42 AM by Ariel Wesler

Majority show support for police chief at council meeting

After a recent no-confidence vote by his officers, Santa Maria Police Chief Danny Macagni heard some voices of support at Tuesday night's city council meeting.

Officer Albert Covarrubias Junior was shot and killed more than a month ago when officers tried to arrest him for alleged sexual misconduct with a 17-year-old girl.
Since then, there's been a call for the police chief to resign. The Police Officers Association took a vote of no confidence, and 85 percent of the voting members expressed doubt in the police chief's leadership.

This was the first city council meeting since that vote less than two weeks ago.

16 people got up to speak Tuesday night about the situation involving the police chief. 14 of those 16 fully supported Chief Macagni and his department, but what was different about tonight's meeting was who got up to speak.

The council heard comments from business leaders who said Macagni has helped their businesses thrive by keeping the city safe. Even the police chief's wife shared her thoughts.

The majority of speakers were upset by the actions taken by the police union.

"They have had a grudge against the current police department. They have had a grudge against our current police chief and they have go to almost any limit to carry forward their agenda," said one resident.

"This is entirely untrue. We just want to be treated fairly, have a positive work environment and this police department deserves better. The citizens of this community deserve better than us just going to work, said Officer Mike Wheeler, who's on the board of the Santa Maria Police Officers Association.

Members of the police union say only a couple councilmembers, Mike Cordero and Jack Boysen, have been willing to speak with them. The only two people who spoke out against the chief at Tuesday night's meeting were from the police officers association.

Some residents also voiced frustration over comments Mike Cordero made last week. He said there was about a 10 to one ratio of people coming to him wanting a new police chief. The councilman says he just wants to do whatever it takes to restore confidence within the police department and the community as quickly as possible.

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