Darrell Todd Maurina
Clovis city commissioners will receive a petition tonight declaring the city “one of the most dangerous places in the state to live,” and demanding action from city leaders on police pay and staffing levels.
According to the petition, whose organizers include police officers, Clovis citizens “live in peril of an exploding crime rate.”
“When such activities as drive-by shootings are so common that when one occurs in a public parking lot — crowded by dozens of teens — and no one reports it, crime and violence have become an accepted part of the social landscape,” according to the petition. “(Policing) can no longer be thought of as a necessary evil and given only enough support to keep it going.”
Petition author Kirk Roberts said petitions are still being circulated, but estimated hundreds have already signed. Roberts said the petition is aimed at informing the public about crime and a need to improve police pay and staffing.
Roberts, a detective with the Clovis Police Department, said he wrote and circulated the petition on his own time and many signers are not connected to the police department.
“The citizens do not know how things are being run,” Roberts said. “We aren’t asking for a recall or anything like that, we just want to show the level of support for this issue.”
While the petition’s cover letter says “the City Fathers have adopted a culture in which mediocrity is demanded on behalf of the citizens,” Roberts said the petition is not intended as an attack on the city commission.
“We want to have a venue in which we can make the citizens aware of this problem,” Roberts said. “We are finding out that most people are not aware that on a daily basis there are only 4-6 officers on the street.”
Police Capt. Dan Blair said the department “supports our employees and the citizen’s right to petition and the public’s right to know about issues that affect public safety” and agreed that “we have been and are in a crisis.”
Clovis Mayor David Lansford could not be reached for comment on Wednesday night. Mayor pro-tem Gordon Smith said he hadn’t yet seen the petition, and because it isn’t on the commission agenda, it can only be received for information at tonight’s meeting.
“We will certainly take a look at it and take it up with the city manager,” Smith said. “No one whatsoever has addressed any of these concerns to me. I would be willing to talk to anyone about it.”