The 'Real Conversation'
With Ontario Police Chief Hill
By: Brian Skowronski 6-24-2020
Ontario- Tension between law enforcement and their community has been building up over the last several weeks with the Black Lives Matter movement taking center stage in many cities around the world. While protests have fueled some of that strain between police departments and the people they serve to protect, the city of Ontario has taken a different approach.
Ontario Police Chief Tommy Hill sat down with Don Bryant for a 'Real Conversation' about the current climate in their community, and where he stands on the BLM movement.
When asked about the protests in Ontario, Hill says, "I feel they deserve a voice, and the message that they are putting out is one that is the right message."
Hill instructed his department to block traffic for protestors for a peaceful demonstration on June 5 where a group of more than 100 paid tribute to George Floyd at a busy intersection. "We were there to protect the protestors", Hill says. "We didn't want anybody to be hurt."
The decision to work with protestors was a "double-edged sword", according to Hill, who says the department took some heat for the decision but felt they were "doing the right thing".
That seems to be a common theme for the Ontario P.D. who had no official officer complaints in 2019. Hill attributes much of that to a simulator the department uses to test officer's de-escalation skills, which they also use during the hiring process to see how applicants will react to stressful situations.
"When we throw you in the simulator you're gonna react the way you intrinsically would react," says Hill. He feels as though actions displayed during the stress test give a solid indicator to real-life results, though he admits being involved in a real altercation on the job can be more challenging.
If a member of the Ontario P.D. has an incident while on duty there are several steps Hill and his team follow to evaluate how things were handled. "You set your officers up for failure if you don't hold them accountable", Hill says.
The OH.Report will follow-up with Hill to show officers in a simulator demonstration soon.