New Police Chief Promotes Open Government

In the spirit of open government, Fullerton Police Chief Mike Sellers made a promise to publicly disclose internal department policies and procedures on the city website.

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Even before Chief Sellers joined the Fullerton PD last month, there were musings of his strong stance on community-oriented policing. It sounds nice, doesn’t it? After a month on the job, it was time to put the PD to the test.

I made a quick request for the department’s taser policy in preparation for an item on the council agenda that would allocate $40,000 for new tasers. Chief Sellers’ initial reaction was the best that we could hope for… his command staff even offered to bring the policy by my house so I would have it in time for the meeting!

Unfortunately, we suspect that someone else at the department noticed my FFFF membership card because officer friendly was then told to deny my public records request. Perturbed by this sudden reversal,  I informed the chief and city council that the issue would be brought up at the city council meeting that night.

By the time I had spoken at the meeting, Chief Sellers had taken a stand and informed everyone that internal department polices would be available to the public and posted online.

The Chief knows there are loopholes in public record law that allow police departments to shut out the public, but Fullerton can rest easy knowing that FFFF and Chief Sellers have solidified their right to observe the inner workings of our government. And that’s how it should be.

18 Replies to “New Police Chief Promotes Open Government”

      1. I don’t think anyONE in particular was looking at your FFFF membership card, I’m sure the chief consulted the city attorneys before it was released.

        1. Crusty, the captain made a comment about Friends for Fullerton’s Future to me when he gave me the denial, even though I had not identified myself as such.

          And to answer your question about the policy, it is very important to know that certain mechanisms are in place to ensure accountability. For one, modern tasers include a chip that stores the exact time of each deployment. Any time a taser is used, the data should be downloaded and included in the arrest record. This ensures that officers are not tempted to give the suspect an extra jolt after they are already detained in order to “ease” compliance in questioning. If you read the news, you can see it happen time and time again. There is nothing wrong with ensuring that our police department is taking the appropriate steps in the line of duty. It protects the officers, the department, the city and the citizens of this city.

          1. I agree whole heartedly, the police department should be held accountable to protect those you indicated.
            I’m not sure about your statement, “…to ease compliance in questioning.”

          2. Krusty, there are plenty of examples in the news of times when officers had a suspect detained, but used a taser because the suspect was not answering questions. Since the taser probes are still hooked up to the suspect, it is very tempting for an officer to administer additional shocks to get the suspect to comply/confess. Since this suspect is detained and no longer a physical threat to the officer, this is nothing more than torture.

            Here is one example:


  1. Travis, I watched the council meeting, someone tried to throw you and Chief Sellers under the bus, I wonder who and why?

    You did a good thing for Fullerton, Thank You ! ! !

  2. Shirley, I’m not sure. The city attorney was really on the defensive. Today I was told that “no” is the attorney’s blanket answer for these types of requests. I wonder how many inquisitors have been turned away before?

  3. What is the culture of fullerton police department to allow this brutality? This is a reflection of the top administration, the police chief, Michael Sellers. This starts at the top, many police departments have learned this

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