About two dozen residents turned out for a meeting in Anaheim Wednesday evening to weigh in on the hiring the next chief of police.
At the meeting about a dozen people told hiring consultant Stuart Satow that the new police chief should be hired based on qualifications, not ethnicity.
"Whether the new chief is white, black, brown, Chinese, it doesn't matter to us. We look for direction," said retired Anaheim police officer Edward Thaete.
Other speakers said the new chief should have some understanding of the city's predominately Latino population.
The new chief "should have some sort of multicultural background here in Anaheim, because there is — most of it is Hispanic. He should be able to speak and understand Spanish," said Theresa Smith, the mother of Caesar Cruz, who died after being shot by Anaheim police in 2009.
The meeting comes a little more than a year after two officer-involved shootings increased tensions between the Anaheim Police Department and members of the city's Latino community.
The July 2012 shootings sparked protests and scattered acts of vandalism. At one point, roughly 1,000 people filled downtown streets when they couldn't get into a city council meeting to discuss the deaths of Manuel Diaz and Joel Acevedo.
Since then, the department, led by interim police chief Raul Quezada, has taken steps to improve its relationship with the community of 340,000.
Hiring consultant Satow said he'll take comments from the meeting and those from an online survey available on the city's website into consideration during the hiring process.