Oxnard PD Current “OPT-OUT” Conditions and the Recommendations Made by CORE



By Armando Vazquez, Founding member of CORE  & the Acuna Art Gallery and Community Collective 

CORE, community members and the Oxnard Police Department (OPD) met on Wednesday, August 29, 2018 at the old Social Security building.  The Acuna Arts Collective has been utilizing the building as a temporary home, courtesy of the city of Oxnard.  Police Chief Scott Whitney, Assistant Chiefs Jason Benites and Eric Sonstegard wanted additional community input for the review and discussion of potential community assistance, for improving the 11 “Opt-out” conditions.  Conditions currently used by the OPD to determine if a “Opt-out” candidate is to be removed from the Oxnard Civil “Gang” Injunction list.

CORE, the Acuna Arts Collective, the KEYS Leadership Academy, OMMH and various community partners want to help the Oxnard Police Department to develop and incorporate complementary, effective, restorative and rehabilitative community-driven “opt-out” addendum’s to the existing “opt-out conditions.  CORE wants to address the fundamental due process elements that seem to be absent in the Oxnard’s Civil “Gang” Injunction process.

The major problem facing the current “Opt-out” model is that, by the OPD’s own admission, many of the adults and youth who have been enjoined since 2008, by the Civil “Gang” Injunction, have never been advised of their right to petition and seek relief from the injunction. To be more magnanimous to the OPD, perhaps the enjoined never took the interest or the time and effort to find out about the “Opt-out” conditions and the required protocol to get relief.

During our last meeting, the OPD revealed to the community, for the first time, that about 70 adults and youth, from a list of over 368 enjoined, had been “opted-out” from the Civil “Gang” Injunction data base in the past 10 years.  When we do the math; 70 divided by 10 = 7 enjoined youth or adults are “opted-out” per year, on average.  This current “Opt-out” process is a dismal failure, and that is why the OPD top brass is scrambling for community help.

The Oxnard PD must face the legal reality that with the current 11 “Opt-out” conditions/protocols they are stuck with an inaccessible, ill-conceived and horrifically executed program for their two constitutionally flawed Civil “Gang” Injunctions.

CORE proposed three progressive, restorative, rehabilitative and community-driven “Opt-out” concepts during our last meeting:

  1. Collective “Triage” program: The Acuna Arts Collective, CORE and other partners have been floating, in many departments of Oxnard government, a restorative and rehabilitative community-driven “Opt-out” program. This program would provide professional “triage” assessment, a vocational/career plan; long term, extensive and practical support/assistance.  This service would be provided through community partnerships including employers, unions, professional, students, volunteers, parents, youths and adults; as they navigate away from the ranks of the enjoined to free contributing members of their local community.  A copy of our proposal has been on the desk of key players within Oxnard leadership for over a year.
  2. The Freedom Project: Volunteer community members working with the police department to review files, and under police supervision, glean relevant information from the 368 existing enjoined youth and adults’ files. Once a determination is made by the community board and approved by the police department, Freedom Project volunteer(s) would visit the enjoined youth or adult to review the current opt-out conditions and requirements that the individual would have to complete to be eligible to opt out.  In addition career/vocational assistance would be provided.
  3. The Opt-out Community Pilot Project: A review of pertinent data and information such as age, years enjoined, schooling, vocational history and other factors for a preliminary assessment. A pilot group of very young (under 21) or older individuals (21-26) are “enrolled” in the KEYS pilot project.  They should be committed to taking the necessary steps to successfully opt out.  This can be a combination of the current 11 OPD conditions and/or selected from the CORE‘s conceptual Restorative/Rehabilitative Community driven “Opt-out” program.

Chief Whitney, at the conclusion of the last meeting, indicated that he would have to “reflect” on CORE and other community voices’ suggestions and proposed ideas.  CORE will await on the Police Chief’s deliberations.

Meanwhile, CORE will continue our campaign to educate and inform the Oxnard community on the glaring constitutional flaws of Oxnard’s two Civil “Gang” Injunctions and how they may end up costing the local Oxnard taxpayer.  These 368 enjoined youth/adults could decide to take their due process rights and grievances to court seeking relief and monetary damages.

Armando Vazquez

Armando Vazquez, M.Ed.  is Executive Director of  Acuna Art Gallery/Café on A, Executive Director for The KEYS Leadership Academy and Chairman of the Oxnard Multicultural Mental Health/coalition

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One Response to  Oxnard PD Current “OPT-OUT” Conditions and the Recommendations Made by CORE

  1. Citizen Reporter September 6, 2018 at 10:27 pm

    Some good ideas in here


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