Orange County Sheriff and her Department join Pacifica Institute for Iftar (August 10, 2012)
Orange County Sheriff, Sandra Hutchens and her department joined Pacifica Institute, Orange County for a Community Iftar dinner. After the Iftar (breaking of fast) Sheriff Sandra Hutchens and some of department members shared their thoughts, told those gathered what the Sheriff's Department does in the community and how it does it. But before that Pacifica Institute's CEO, Tezcan Inanlar, thanked the Orange County Sheriff's Department for its dedication to the peace, security and its dedication to enhanced mutual understanding of our community.
First, OC Sheriff Sandra Hutchens took to the stage. She started off by thanking Pacifica Institute for its work. She said that just like Pacifica Institute, "we too are trying to build bridges." She continued, "In the law enforcement community we are always seeking to build bridges with all the cultures, all the great cultures that are represented in Orange County." The Sheriff then introduced her accompanying staff members who work as her liaisons in the community.
The first of the Department members to take the stage was Captain Jeff Peterson who shared with the audience the work of his department, Community Programs and Services Division. He told the audience about the three offices within his division, "it is our Public Affairs Office, our Community Services Office and then our Media Relations or our Public Affairs Office which consists of media relations, public relations, government relations and community relations" Brigitte on government relations, and Gale about public relations
Next Carrie from Community Relations talked about her job, her responsibility to find those groups in the community and explore the ways that we can communicate better with each other. She shared that, "Law Enforcement and diverse communities both have difficulties, you need to work out things, you need to understand each other better." So, she continued that it was her job to open those lines of communication between those communities and understand what it is that is specific to one community, things that they need from the Sheriff's Department.
Brigitte Kelly talked about government relations. She works with the board of supervisors and all the local municipalities, the city councils, the grand juries and the grand jury representatives and had the role of being the ears and the eyes of the Sheriff's Department in government. In her role she discussed how her department also "embrace[s] diverse cultures as well as inclusive environments."
Lastly Gale Cross of the Sheriff's public relationships spoke. She said, "We are focused on making sure that we have open and honest communication with the public that you understand why we do what we do and how we do it."
In the end Sherriff Hutchens took to the podium one more time to allay fears of the public about the recent tragedy in Wisconsin. She said that even thought what happened happened in Wisconsin "it doesn’t mean that we [Sheriff's Department] don’t pay attention because it is in Wisconsin. We have an intelligence assessment center that springs into action whenever something like that occurs; we start making calls to our contacts in that state, to the FBI with the purpose of determining is there a threat to our community." She assured that "whenever anything like that occurs in Wisconsin or halfway around the world we are always looking at the implications to the community here. So we will always reach out particularly to these places of worship in the community if we feel that there is a threat." From what the FBi has reported to her so far the Sheriff said, "[T]his was a lone individual and does not appear to have any other connections or any other threats at this time."
And so ended a community iftar organized by the Pacifica Institute in orde to honor the dedicated men and women of the Orange County Sheriff's Department.