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Some King City residents call for a change in leadership

By Marissa Schwartz, Reporter, MarissaSchwartz@kionrightnow.com
Published On: Mar 12 2014 01:37:50 AM CDT
Some King City residents call for a change in leadership
KING CITY, Calif. -

There's a loud call for new leadership in King City after six of the city’s police officers were arrested after an investigation into an alleged illegal impounding scheme.  On Tuesday, city leaders held a special meeting to discuss ideas on how build trust and those who showed up demanded answers.

"We have to hold somebody accountable and he is accountable for all of the things that have been happening in this town," said one King City resident.

First the police department and now city leaders.  Some residents are asking City Council members to remove City Manager Michael Powers from his position because they say the alleged corruption of the police department happened under his watch.  When asked if Powers would be held accountable, Mayor Rob Cullen said as far as he's concerned, Powers has done his job.  He also reminds everyone the Monterey County District Attorney's office didn't come to city hall with any charges.

"If they had found wrong doing by the city manager or other police officers or other city staff, then we would have dealt with that," Cullen said.

At Tuesday’s meeting, a petition was handed over to the city, formally asking Powers to be removed.  Powers himself told us he’ll send us a copy of that petition on Wednesday.  We have yet to find out what the next steps will be for Powers and the petition.

There were some who defended Powers, asking the community to take ownership of the city's issue with crime.

"We're the ones that are contributing to the stuff that's going on here, we're the ones that should be involved to try to stop all the stuff that goes on here," said another King City resident.

City leaders are hoping Interim Police Chief Dennis Hegwood, will be able to bridge the gap between officers and residents.  That's because some said they fear their own police officers after six were arrested for various charges, including the former and acting chief.

Hegwood said he has 11 officers to work with right now and when the community needs help, it's there.

"If Greenfield or the CHP or the Sheriff's need backup, they roll to back each other up routinely anyway.  But calls for service are handled by King City Police officers,” Hegwood said.

The city plans to hold three more community meetings to allow residents to participate in finding solutions.

March 16 2 p.m. St. John's Church, King City

March 25 6 p.m. King City City Council, first hour will be for public input

March 30 3 p.m Town Hall Solutions Hearing in the Audry Building, Salinas Valley Fairgrounds.  Assemblyman Luis Alejo, Senator Anthony Cannella and County Supervisor Simon Salinas are invited to attend.