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El Cajon’s New Police Chief On Working In A Diverse City

El Cajon Gets New Police Chief


Jeff Davis, chief, El Cajon Police Department


Jeff Davis became El Cajon’s police chief this month, and is grappling with serving a diverse community.

Davis, who replaced former chief Jim Redman who retired, has been with the department since 1986. An East County native, Davis graduated from El Capitan High and earned a bachelor's degree in business management from San Diego Christian College.

San Diego County's fifth largest city has seen crime rates fall by 15 percent since 2011, according to the San Diego Association of Governments. The city is home to roughly 102,000 residents.

El Cajon's demographics have undergone a steady change. According to census data, 30 percent of the city's population is foreign born and more than 42 percent of households speak a language other than English at home.

El Cajon is now the main destination for refugees being resettled in our county.

Davis said catering to the city’s diverse community can be a challenge.

“It’s important for the Police Department to understand we are policing a global community,” Davis told KPBS Midday Edition on Monday. “They have to understand if you come from another country, you’re going to have a language barrier.”

Davis said one of the challenges is that law enforcement officers are viewed differently in different countries. He said he’s been working to inform the new residents that the department is there to help.

“You would think that would be easy but it’s not as easy as we thought,” said Davis, citing language and cultural barriers.

Davis said his department currently has two Iraqi officers who are used daily for translation purposes. He said they’re working on increasing their outreach efforts to recruit a more diverse force.

“Your department should be made up of a representation of the community,” Davis said. “It would make it easier for us to understand the cultural differences.”

“It’s an interesting time to be a police chief.”

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