San Jose Chamber of Commerce Delegation Visits City Hall

On April 26, representatives with the San Jose Chamber of Commerce capped off a weeklong tour of Los Angeles by visiting Beverly Hills City Hall, where Beverly Hills Police Department Chief Mark Stainbrook gave a presentation on the department’s technological advancements. Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Todd Johnson also led a walking tour of the city to show how strong public programs support Beverly Hills’ business environment, he said.  

As the BHPD’s profile has grown in recent years, thanks largely to the innovations driven by the Real Time Watch Center (RTWC), government officials and business representatives from other cities have frequently reached out to Johnson to visit the city and learn how they can adopt similar practices, Johnson said.  

“It’s gotten a lot of attention … and places are trying to figure out how can we do it, how can we do something similar,” he told the Courier.

While welcoming the San Jose delegates to City Hall, Mayor Lester Friedman, Vice Mayor Sharona Nazarian and newly elected Councilmember Mary Wells highlighted how the city’s investment in its fire and police departments foster a close sense of community among residents.  

“I think it’s such a concerted effort … with our residents to really create a community relationship where there’s trust,” Nazarian said.     

Johnson said the San Jose officials were particularly interested in ensuring security as they look to revamp the city’s business community, and BHPD’s policing and RTWC were focal points of their visit.  

During a video presentation, Stainbrook explained that he assumed his position during a surge in property crimes and on the night of the murder of Jacqueline Avant, wife of music executive Clarence Avant, which rocked the city. However, with the City Council’s support, he has expanded the city’s use of surveillance technology including drones, cameras and automated license plate readers, all of which feed into the RTWC, to tamp down on crime. 

He added that although some residents have expressed privacy concerns, the heightened surveillance ensures better police accountability and is in public areas where pedestrians have no Fourth Amendment right to privacy. 

The San Jose visitors were also curious about how the Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce conducts outreach to other cities and were impressed by the support from elected officials.

“We always get comments that ‘not too many cities do this,’” Johnson said. “When they hear that we have the mayor, the city manager, the president of the chamber here to talk to you, that goes a long way.”  

The visit also presented an opportunity for Johnson to consider new opportunities for his business community, and he said there was much discussion about the benefits of San Jose’s convention center.  

“That is something that we would love, something we wish we had in Beverly Hills,” Johnson said. “But, you know, the space prohibits that.”  

Though no visits from other cities are currently scheduled, Johnson continues to field inquiries, something that he said residents should be proud of. 

“I think it’s a feather in our hat when we have these cities reaching out to us,” Johnson said. 

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