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We knew we had a problem.
We just didnâ€™t know how far Mammoth has to go in building trust between the Hispanic population and the Mammoth Lakes Police Department.
Letâ€™s just say itâ€™s a very long way.
In a presentation Tuesday in front of the Mammoth Lakes Police-Community Hispanic Advisory Committee, Village Lodge manager Luis Villanueva came back with some disturbing news.
After meetings with employees from Mammoth Mountain Ski Area who work in hotels, he reported a consensus among Hispanics that police profiling is rampant, that Hispanics feel they donâ€™t get a fair shake and they have a deep level of mistrust for the officers on the force.
â€śObviously,â€ť said Police Chief Dan Watson, â€śwe have a long way to go.
â€śBut weâ€™ve got a process started, and weâ€™ll go forward. This meeting was very helpful.â€ť
This was the second meeting of the Hispanic Advisory Committee. Watson formed the committee in December, and he said he hopes to make it a regular, monthly meeting.
One of the ways to do that, he said, is to move the discussion from committee level to a more open, town level.
Though the committee set no dates, it recommended a general â€śTown Hallâ€ť meeting for sometime soon, so that Hispanics and members of the MLPD can discuss issues in a more open environment.
In addition to Villanuevaâ€™s report, the committee heard from America Hernandez on her planned ride-along with a police officer.