After the residents of a home in Atascadero placed a sign in their yard accusing police officers of racism, Police Chief Bob Masterson responded with a statement on Facebook. The sign depicts an officer in his uniform during the day, while donning a KKK robe at night.
Statement from Chief Bob Masterson
“It is my firm belief that everyone has the freedom of speech as governed by the constitution and laws of California. Yesterday was the first I heard of the sign and my first reaction was to reach out to those residents in an effort to start a conversation with the people who live there. I want to understand their opinions and whether they feel it is reflective of our local Atascadero Police Department.
“After careful consideration, I decided I would not want my actions to be perceived as interference with their freedom of speech. I would hope that the person who posted the sign would reach out to me so we may have this conversation.
“I am a new Chief to Atascadero and do not believe our officers have any prejudicial views, but if there are, I would most certainly like to have that knowledge, so I may address it. I am a firm believer that all of us in society have some biases, but that it is important that we acknowledge those biases and engage in meaningful conversation with people to both acknowledge those biases and resolve them in a helpful way.”
The police department is encouraging residents to reach out to Chief Masterson at (805) 461-5051 to discuss their concerns.