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Antioch Police Chief Responds to Racist Texting Scandal and Officer Shortage

Antioch Police Chief Steven Ford is facing a challenging situation as more than three dozen officers have been placed on leave due to various scandals, leaving the community outraged and concerned about the department’s deep-rooted issues.

The recent scandal involves racist text messages exchanged between dozens of officers, targeting individuals such as the mayor and criminal suspects.

Despite ongoing investigations, no arrests have been made yet, and authorities are working diligently to identify those involved.

Approximately 40% of the Antioch Police department remains on leave in the wake of this scandal.

Chief Ford, in an interview with KTVU’s Brooks Jarocz, expressed his outrage and commitment to transforming the department’s culture.

Rebuilding trust within the community is his top priority.

He acknowledges that this is a disturbing situation and recognizes the need for change.

Although the offensive text messages were sent by only a few officers, Chief Ford believes it does not reflect the entire organization’s values.

However, the scandal has sparked protests, lawsuits, and raised concerns about the integrity of previous police investigations.

To address the issue, Chief Ford has already implemented internal changes, such as revising policies regarding cellphones, handling of canines, and use of force.

Despite the shortage of officers, the Antioch Police Department has restructured its patrol teams to ensure there are no delays in response times or lapses in investigating violent crimes.

Beyond rebuilding the department, Chief Ford aims to restore trust in the community.

He acknowledges the warranted pushback and emphasizes that the organization is committed to behaving and functioning in a manner that meets the expectations of the public.

In an effort to engage and build bridges with underserved communities, Chief Ford has partnered with the NAACP to develop monthly forums.

He assures those who are hesitant or fearful of interacting with the police that the department will treat them fairly, consistently, and with respect.

Recognizing the need for a cultural change, Chief Ford is open to the idea of federal oversight and is willing to embrace any available resources to bring the organization back on track.

Accountability is crucial in moving forward and rebuilding the Antioch Police Department.

While the road ahead may be challenging, Chief Ford’s determination to address the department’s issues and regain the community’s trust remains steadfast.

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