SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Some Sacramento community members are protesting a new police policy of banning members of the public from a monthly neighborhood meeting.

Many people have ideas on how to keep their communities safe but some who showed up to Thursday’s meeting were left locked out.

Deborah Cummings grew up in Del Paso Heights and has worked for decades trying to keep her community safe.
So she’s outraged that police will no longer allow her and other members of the public to attend a monthly meeting discussing community concerns.

“I thought we were making some dialogue here working together but this is not working together. You’re telling us we’re not welcome and I have an issue with that,” said Cummings.

“I don’t think it’s right, she’s very concerned about what’s going on in the community,” said Ross Hendrickx with Del Paso Heights Community Association.

Several other people were also turned away from the meeting at the police department’s north substation, including our photographer.

“I feel like more and more things we’re just being shut out of. I just would like to be able to know what’s going on and what I can do in my community,” said Stephanie Peterson, a neighbor.

The meetings are an opportunity to meet the neighborhood’s top cop, Cpt. Pamela Seyffert, who’s responsible for all patrol officers north of the American River. But this month’s meeting behind locked doors inside the “community engagement room” was limited to only leaders of neighborhood associations.

Police say the original intent was to only meet with leaders, but others say they have been allowed to attend in the past.

“This meeting has been open to the public for as long as anyone can remember,” said Hendrickx.

A spokesman says “the venue won’t fit more than the targeted attendees ” and some who regularly attend say recent meetings have not been productive.

“It just seems like the public would get off topic, there is an agenda and we need to try and stick to it,” said Natomas Community Association President Erica Harden.

But others say police should encourage public participation —  not lock people out of the process.

“How dare you disrespect us like that,” said Cummings.

Police say there are other public meetings where community members can get involved but tonight when we asked when the next public meeting will be held, they could not provide us with any date.