Maloney’s oath

New police chief makes pledges that Chicoans expect he’ll keep

It’s no secret that we like Mike—Maloney, that is. When he was interim chief of the Chico Police Department, applying for the permanent job, we editorialized in favor of hiring local instead of looking outside. That’s precisely what the city did, and we join the array of Chicoans who attended Maloney’s swearing-in ceremony in congratulating the new chief on his promotion.

We know not everyone feels so positively about him, but policing is a thankless job. More often than not, people encounter officers during unpleasant situations. Complaints and criticism are inevitable.

That’s why we’re so encouraged by Maloney’s pledge to reinstate the Police Chief’s Community Advisory Board established by Mike Dunbaugh, several chiefs ago. Short of a police commission with oversight power, an advisory board is a significant way for members of the public to share community sentiment about the force. Through this group, Maloney and his staff will have a better gauge on the pulse of the city, and citizens will have another means to air grievances. Two-way communication will surely help clear up misunderstandings on both sides.

In order for the effort to have any meaning, Maloney will need to follow through on another promise: to have more “average citizens” on board. Diversity is key—racial, geographic and socioeconomic diversity. The panel can’t just contain people you regularly see quoted in the paper or writing letters to the editor; it can’t just give a platform to community leaders. It needs wider representation, like a member of the ACLU sitting between a downtown business owner and a Chico State student.

We’re also pleased about three Target Teams proposed by Maloney to address neighborhood issues and free up other officers to combat crime.

We trust Maloney. That’s why we’ve been so bullish on him. We’re confident he’ll continue to earn our trust by living up to his encouraging words.