Thursday, May 14, 2009

Gascon on his way out?

The City Council has taken quite a few votes and made some major personnel decisions in their first full year in office. None though would be as big as this one. Police Chief Gason is reported to be a finalist for the same job in San Francisco (Tribune version).

Gascon has had his fair share of critics, supporters, controversy and success - most of which has been centered on immigration and his battles with Arpaio.

From the beginnning, many thought Gascon was using Mesa as a stepping stone to get to a bigger city, most likely in California. In fact, Mesa thought the same, providing financial incentives for him to stay. That talk died down a little once Los Angeles found a permanent police chief who likely will be around for years.

Unlike Blogger Joanna Allhands, I don't necessarily believe that it means he is looking to leave. Being a finalist for San Francisco definitely fuels speculation that he may be open to bigger and better things. Bear in mind, Gascon was approached by a recruiter for the job, he wasn't looking up "police chief" on He has made great strides in reducing crime and finding innovative ways to do more with less. However, I think we all can agree that there is still work to be done.

At the same time, we should be realistic in the fact that this might be exactly what Gascon is looking for. A bigger California city, which allows him to be closer to his family, one that doesn’t quite have the budgetary problems or immigration fervor that characterize Mesa. Mesa leaders have repeatedly stated they are not a sanctuary city and even went as far as to change the policy regarding illegal immigrants last year. Still not enough for some, the repeated calls for Gascon's removal and the constant pitting of him against Sheriff Joe is a lot for any person to handle.

Perhaps, the biggest bonus for Gascon may be that he’ll have policies that will allow him to focus on what he is best at, community policing and reducing crime rates, without having to play the political games he’s had to face here in Arizona. Despite some bad decisions of late, I still think that he is a good for the community and we should be complimented that he is a hot commodity in the law-enforcement world. It would be best for him to stay and finish what he started, but ultimately, the decision is up to him.

We should all keep an eye on this story as it develops.

1 comment:

Heath Reed said...

He has made some good and bad moves as chief. Mesa should be prepared to bring in someone that can finish the job. More police is not the answer, but community policing like Gascon has been promoting. He gets this from the great author Jane Jacobs "eyes on the streets". CEPTED has some good, but principles that are flawed and not as good. If he does leave, we need to find a true leader and one who is willing to go out on the limb and try new things and hold the department accountable.