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No such thing as a minor gang shooting
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Editor, Manteca Bulletin,

I think Manteca Police Chief David Bricker is doing a great job leading his police force through this economically tough time. Other departments need to look at what he is doing with his command staff and sworn officers. He is doing the best he can with what he has. The problem is he does not have much to work with. I don’t mean in any way that his staff is not worthy of such praise. What I mean is he doesn’t have enough staff to do the job the way it needs to be done.

In the Manteca Bulletin (April 14, 2010) Chief Bricker was talking about another shooting we had in Manteca. The shooting was another senseless one committed by two southern gang members. They weren’t even legally in this country. Chief Bricker made comments on the understaffing issues saying that his officers are still aggressively going after gang members, but also said that part of the cuts were to his gang unit, traffic, detectives and drugs. I would say those people were not excess baggage to the department. In fact I would think they are a very important part of what keeps us safe in Manteca. We can all think we live in a perfect world and we can all lay down our guns and it will just be ok. But I don’t think that way and I hope you don’t either.

Chief Bricker said he did not want to downplay how serious the recent spate of gang violence is, that it included four people receiving minor bullet rounds while standing in a residential garage. That surprises me that the Chief would say that because I don’t think any bullet round in any neighborhood is minor. In fact it would cause me to lose sleep if it was my garage. Another bullet went through a window at Blockbuster just missing a lady taking a movie back. How messed up would that be to send your wife to take back the video your family just watched and she gets killed because of a minor bullet! Flash! There are no minor stray bullets. We can’t even begin to start thinking like that. I am hoping that the Chief was just misquoted.

Chief Bricker referred back four years ago when gun play was almost a daily occurrence in Southside Park. And Police were able to get a handle on it. Well, guess what, they got a handle on it because they had a heavy police presence in that area and either made arrests or made the gang bangers move to another town, trust me they didn’t all decide to be law-abiding citizens.

And now with this huge problem of cutting all the police forces we are going to see these problems in a much bigger force. Chief Bricker, keep up the good work. Like I said other departments need to look at how you have made the best of a bad situation but Chief, you need to voice your concerns with the city leaders. I’m sure you have but you need to also say how it really is when the newspaper asks you questions. We want to hear the truth.
Michael Rhodes
April 19, 2010