Mountain View Police Department Chief opens community discussion for modern policing

Chris Hsiung, Deputy Chief of Mountain View Police Department, shared a glimpse of the tensions within law enforcement and how they use social media to communicate with the community in a speaker event on March 8.

“Post-George Floyd, suddenly it was very anti-law enforcement,” Hsiung said. “We had a very important role to tell the story that Mountain View officers go in and day out to serve their community and do so with the pride and distinction that we’re professional.”

Hsiung said his department posted statements on social media that they were horrified by the video of Floyd’s death. Commenters started discussing police policies and the use of force.

“That was something we put in one place so the community could see we’re different and that we have a high degree of professionalism in the way we police and provide our services,” Hsiung said.

Alberto Mendoza, 21, majoring in child development, said that he has not had any bad experiences with police officers, besides in protests for George Floyd.

“It was good to see and hear the thoughts of a police officer because of how things are currently in the country,” Mendoza said. “It was good to get a deep dive into his experience and what he thinks about his profession.”

Hsiung recalled when he investigated a sudden infant death syndrome case of a 6-week-old baby. The medics at the scene had left, leaving Hsiung to deliver the news to the parents.

“I was not emotionally prepared for that conversation, and clearly the parents were not either,” Hsiung said. “That is trauma that stays with you.”

Hsiung added that psychological counseling and crisis intervention started 15 years ago. Officers are required to go if the police think they experienced a traumatic incident.

“Counseling and resources for both the officers and the families should definitely be in place,” Mendoza said.“It should be widespread and encouraged for officers that are involved in traumatic experiences.”

Jayanti Roy, chair of the child development department, said the event sparked conversation about how the image of law enforcement has changed in the last few years.

“The role the police play in society has done a 360, in the sense that they’ve gone from being the most trusted people in society to now being feared,” Roy said. “How we rebuild that, how important it is for society to trust again, and what will it take for us to rebuild that.”

During the event, Roy said she was also concerned about domestic violence towards children and women.

“When the world opens up, we’re going to have to regroup in many different ways to find resources and help populations that are affected,” Roy said.

As Asian Americans also increasingly become targets of hate crimes, police face a growing number of issues, unlikely to be resolved soon.