The Bakersfield Police Department and Kern County Sheriff’s Office continue to work toward gaining the public’s trust and rebuild their reputations.
“When the public learns that police officers who are supposed to be enforcing the law have been violating that very law, particularly under circumstances like these involving huge amounts of harmful illegal drugs people’s faith in law enforcement is understandably shaken,” said Phillip A. Talbert.
Men and women who wear the badge say they’re also disappointed, and now bear the brunt of the public’s resentment.
“When a police officer does tarnish the badge, it affects all of us,” said Ramon Chavez. “It affects how the public perceives us, and their trust, and it makes us unhappy with the whole criminal justice system.”
Both departments have implemented changes, specifically in narcotics units.
“We’re looking at the processes that we have with our narcotics units and the process we have in seizing and booking evidence,” said then-Chief Greg Williamson. “I believe we’ve been working with the DEA for quite some time now on the revision of our policies.”
“We’ve made changes in our narcotic unit, there’s a time limit you can spend in there now, and we continue to go back and finish what we think was not a great investigation by the federal government. And we’re still looking at that unit to see, we’ve cleaned it out, we’ve moved people, this is just something we can’t allow,” said Sheriff Donny Youngblood.
Both departments have also increased the number of officers who wear body cameras, hoping the technology will increase transparency.