The Turlock City Council voted 4-1 on Tuesday to adopt two separate resolutions in support of the Turlock Police Department. Mayor Amy Bublak, a retired law enforcement officer, was the lone dissenting vote.
One of the resolutions adopted on Tuesday was written by Turlock resident Ron Bridegroom. The other resolution was written by Council member Nicole Larson. While both resolutions declare the City Council’s “full faith and confidence” in the police department, the language drafted by the citizen focuses more on the recent defunding of the police department, while Larson recognizes the accomplishments made in reducing use of force over the past five years.
In her comments before the vote was taken on Tuesday, Mayor Bublak said that the Council had “lost the moment” for the resolution.
“The police department knows we care. The community’s been outreached and they’re saying they know we support the police department. I think we move forward without any resolution because why try and delude it now,” Bublak said.
The public discussion on a possible City Council resolution in support of the Turlock Police Department began at the July 28 meeting when City Manager Toby Wells brought forward a resolution crafted by Bridegroom. It had originally called for “full funding” of TPD, but after discussions with City staff and the police department, the resolution was changed to declare full “support” of Turlock’s officers. It was decided to bring the resolution forward as an agenda item at the next Council meeting.
At the July 28 meeting, Bublak was in full support of a resolution supporting the police department.
“From my standpoint, having been in law enforcement for many, many years, many times I’ve had to not tell people I was a cop. People don’t like cops — it’s a derogatory thing. Right now, law enforcement is underappreciated and if it takes a resolution saying we actually appreciate you...there’s nothing wrong with that,” Bublak said. “For the first time in my life, I’m done trying to apologize for being a cop. I’m now a mayor...right now they’re under attack. This is our job to tell them they’re doing a good job."
At their Aug. 11 meeting, the City Council not only considered adopting Bridegroom’s resolution, but also one submitted by Council member Larson.
“For the citizens to be coming forward and writing a resolution and asking this Council to have something from this body as support is absolutely important and to be taken very seriously. And as I found as I was going over it that I wanted to add more. I wanted to add the pieces that speak to the totality of the issue that’s striking this nation right now, use of force,” said Larson on Aug. 11.
After a heated discussion where Bridegroom called in to state his extreme displeasure at Larson submitting her own resolution and giving it to the public with little time to consider it, the Council voted to push consideration of the resolutions to the next meeting.
At Tuesday’s meeting, comments from Bridegroom were read to the Council in which he again expressed his displeasure in Larson writing her own resolution.
“I think a lot of people are losing sight of what’s going on here,” said Council member Gil Esquer — a sentiment shared by other Council members.
“To me, the nature of how we’ve gone about treating this speaks to a larger issue of a propensity, a desire to make sides to issues where there aren’t sides. We had a desire of a resident, a citizen, to bring forward our support of the police department that we all collectively wanted to express. My colleague drafted a resolution in her own words, as an elected official, as a representative of the people, that spoke to that same sentiment. It just feels to me that we’re so focused on the words that we’re saying and how we’re saying things that we’re losing sight of what we’re trying to do…,” said Vice Mayor Andrew Nosrati.
“We have overwhelming support for our police department,” Nosrati continued.
“In my time here on the Council and my 20 years in government, resolutions have been a historical value from previous generations to generations moving forward so when Council member Larson had brought hers forward, I thought that was a good representation of what we’d like to leave as a historical document. The citizen’s resolution that was brought forward I felt needed to be expanded on and that’s exactly what she did,” said Council member Becky Arellano.