Questions about traffic, school and neighborhood safety, and inquiries about loud neighbors and nuisance ice cream trucks — nothing was off limits when Chief Charles Celano took to Facebook to hear from residents.
Tustin Police have hosted “Ask Me Anything” on its Facebook page in recent months to give residents a chance to air concerns or ask questions of their police department and on Monday, July 27, Celano sat behind the screen.
“One of the advantages of social media is the ability to create this intimate forum that otherwise would have been very difficult to execute,” Celano said. “I want to close the gap between the police and the public.”
Celano said he jumped at the idea of an online community forum because he believes better engagement is a necessary part of law enforcement.
“So much of what is going on in the world today with law enforcement can be attributed to some sort of disconnect between the police and the local community,” he said. “We all need to do better in this area. It is a sea change that needs to occur.”
Celano responded to about 80 questions or comments, with inquiries about traffic concerns leading the discussion.
“With all of the cars out on the roadways these days, it should not be a surprise to me that traffic is the No. 1 source of complaints, frustrations and fears of the community,” Celano said. “We focus a fair amount of resources towards traffic, but probably not nearly enough.”
Other residents asked about parking, noise ordinances, patrol checks on local seniors and elementary schools and some just virtually popped in to say “thank you.”
“THANK YOU [sic]Chief for what you and your officers do every day to keep our community safe. God bless you all,” wrote Maria Mancini.
Some residents who joined the conversation said they thought it rare a police chief would take the time to be available and accessible to residents, but Celano said it is an important part of the job.
“I think people place this unnecessary mystique around the ‘chief of police.’ I am just a regular guy who came up the ranks and now sit in this chair,” Celano said. “I want people to know that I truly listen to their concerns and want to address them in the best way I can.”
Check out some of the conversation: