San Diego Police Chief Nominee Dave Nisleit responded to public comment concerning his possible appointment and the state of the department Monday.
More than 40 people signed up to speak before Assistant Chief Nisleit and the city council about their expectations of the next police chief.
If confirmed, Nisleit will take over as Chief at the end of the month before current Chief Shelley Zimmerman retires on March 1 after 35 years in law enforcement.
Chief Zimmerman is given credit for renewing confidence in the police department and reducing crime, but based on public comments Monday there is more to do for the next chief.
The citizens of San Diego want a police department that doles out justice equally.
"There is a lack of color in everything that has to do with San Diego P.D.,” one speaker said.
Others at the hearing talked of transparency.
"We all deserve that feeling of being proud and that feeling of feeling safe," another speaker said.
"Women of San Diego expect the new police chief to take seriously and investigate all sexual assaults,” another speaker said.
Facing a laundry list of concerns and needs, Assistant Chief Nisleit said he is equal to the task.
"I'm going to have courageous conversations with people," Nisleit said. "I really want to sit down with community members and figure out how we are going to move this department forward."
He did find support among the gallery in council chambers. Some are average citizens.
"This is what you have. You have built trust with the community, and with Nisleit this is what’s going to happen,” one woman said.
Some support comes from the established law enforcement community.
"He is a man of integrity. He does believe in community policing. He is in the community," Former District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis said.
To those people looking for solutions, Nisleit is doing the math. More officers on the streets equal better public service.
"I can look about how we hire people and how we bring people in and how we recruit, and that will be a priority from day one," Nisleit said.
The purpose of Monday’s hearing is to get City Council thinking about what community members want from their new chief.
The confirmation hearing, which will give council an opportunity to interview Nisleit, is scheduled for February 26.