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Who can attend north Sac police meeting is changing. Some call it a ‘slap in the face’

Debra Cummings, a Del Paso Heights mother with Community Mothers of 95838 and advocate for expanding youth activities in her community, says the change in who can attend the meetings is “a slap in the face.” “We felt like we were really interacting with the police, making steps forward, but this is taking us back,” she said.
Debra Cummings, a Del Paso Heights mother with Community Mothers of 95838 and advocate for expanding youth activities in her community, says the change in who can attend the meetings is “a slap in the face.” “We felt like we were really interacting with the police, making steps forward, but this is taking us back,” she said. Bee file

Beginning Thursday, members of the public will no longer be allowed to attend a monthly meeting with the north area Sacramento Police Department captain that has been a part of community and police relations for 20 years.

Instead, the meetings will be limited to neighborhood association leaders, which police say was the original purpose of the meetings.

The Captain’s Leaders Meetings, which are held at 6 p.m. on the fourth Thursday of every month at Kinney Police Facility, typically consist of a presentation by Capt. Pamela Seyffert on something of local interest and a Q&A with the public, said Ross Hendrickx, president of the Del Paso Heights Community Association and a regular attendee.

But, unrelated public comment was eating into the meeting time and getting it off track, said Billie Booth, president of the Dixieanne and Old North Sacramento Community Association, who has attended the meetings for the past five years.

“We could be talking about one thing and the next person has got a different issue,” Booth said. “You can’t be there for 3 or 4 hours because people are going off track. There’s no time limit for public comment.”

Attendees would frequently comment on growing numbers of homeless people in their neighborhood or rashes of property crime, Hendrickx said.

In the last six months, the meetings were getting off topic and not getting much accomplished, said Eddie Macaulay, spokesman for the Sacramento Police Department.

Booth said the meetings are attended by a mix of neighborhood association leaders and members of the public.

“This was something they put together for the community to voice their concerns, and for them to to take us out of the equation is a slap in the face,” said Debra Cummings, a Del Paso Heights resident and founder of Community Mothers of 95838. “We felt like we were really interacting with the police, making steps forward, but this is taking us back.”

In an email to community leaders in May, Seyffert temporarily suspended the meetings to “re-evaluate” them, according to police.

“The original intent of the meeting was not being served,” Macaulay said.

And on Thursday, the meetings will resume and only be for the North Area Captain and leaders of north Sacramento neighborhood associations such as Natomas, Del Paso Heights, Strawberry Manor, Hagginwood, Robla Park and Ben Ali among others, police said.

This particular meeting was getting away from what the purpose of it was, Macaulay said. “It’s never been an open forum meeting and it’s not intended to be an open forum. The meeting for years and years has been with the neighborhood associations and people would just come for a singular issue and then not return,” he said.

Hendrickx said the meetings have always been open to the public and this change essentially bans them.

“If they really want to go this route, then I think it needs to be part of a public discussion instead of just trying to slide it by,” Hendrickx said.

Molly Sullivan: 916-321-1176, @SullivanMollyM



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