San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman faced some tough questions as she held her first town hall meeting Monday in Lincoln Park to deal with community complaints about officers using racial profiling as a police tactic.
Roughly 175 people, including dozens of uniformed officers, attended the meeting at the Jacobs Center where the chief vowed to repair any public distrust.
“Some of our officers have made the terrible decision to discredit our badge and dishonor our noble profession” said Zimmerman.
A variety of questions were raised, but the number one concern dealt with racial profiling issues.
“When they’re pulled over here instead of asking for drivers license or insurance they ask you if you’re on parole or probation” said Crystal Van Dyke who brought her two young sons in hopes of building a positive relationship between them and police.
When asked if racial profiling is a problem, Zimmerman responded, “Absolutely, because the community says it’s an issue."
Zimmerman urged people to immediately request a police supervisor if ever they felt wrongly detained or questioned by an officer.
She highlighted proactive measures like the implementation of officer body cameras and new rules requiring dual officer transport of female detainees.
Zimmerman also pledged to focus more attention on “effective communication” between her officers and the public during traffic stops and calls for service.
One resident told NBC 7 he liked what he heard.
"I like her remedy for success in that area," he said. "Effective communication - a relationship that is very much needed in our community."
"This is the start, this is the beginning," another resident, Sharvella Norris, said adding that she would attend future meetings.
While others weren't completely sold.
"I'll believe it when I see it, I'm not completely in - no," Van Dykes said.