Antioch Police ask Bay Area media to verify info from City’s PIO before publishing

The Antioch Police Department wants the media to verify anything sent out by the City’s contracted public information officer Rolando Bonilla before publishing.

By Allen D. Payton

The battle between who is in charge of informing the public about crime in Antioch and what occurs with the police department and the city manager and the City’s public information officer continued Saturday afternoon. Following the publishing of a news article containing comments falsely attributed to Antioch Police Chief Steve Ford, the department issued a press release asking Bay Area media asking to confirm with APD anything sent by the City’s contract PIO, Rolando Bonilla about the police department prior to publication.

The APD press release reads as follows:

The following statement is being issued by Antioch Police Lieutenant Michael Mellone in his capacity as the supervisor of our media relations team:

“I have become aware that some Bay Area media outlets may have received a statement from City of Antioch PIO Ronaldo Bonilla purported to be on behalf of our Chief of Police, Dr. Steven A. Ford. Mr. Bonilla is employed by Voler Strategic Advisors and is the contracted PIO for the City of Antioch. Specifically, a statement attributed in Chief Ford’s name was provided to KRON 4 related to a recent news event involving a series of commercial burglaries, and our delayed response times. While Mr. Bonilla is a contracted PIO for the City of Antioch, he is not the PIO for the Police Department. Our official PIO is Officer Ashley Crandell and I am her supervisor.

Chief Ford has authorized me to inform all media that this attribution in his name provided to KRON 4 was never made or authorized by him personally. We have learned that this statement was provided to KRON 4 from Mr. Bonilla representing himself as the City of Antioch PIO.

Any media outlets receiving statements on behalf of the Antioch Police Department from an individual outside of our organization are respectfully requested to verify the accuracy of these statements by contacting PIO Officer Ashley Crandell (email:, myself (email:, or the Antioch Police Department member directly, which is something we can help facilitate if needed.

KRON 4 has since retracted the statement attributed to Chief Ford’s name incorrectly, with an editor’s note indicating it was provided by an unauthorized representative. We appreciate KRON 4 staff working with us to quickly correct this issue and invite any media to communicate openly with us over matters involving our Police Department. Chief Ford has directed us to embrace best practice police policies on transparency, which involves open communication with media and our community. We continue to investigate this incident and will provide relevant updates when it is appropriate to do so.”

Bonilla, who answers to City Manager Con Johnson, and works with the mayor and council members, was sent a copy of Mellone’s statement and asked if he had any response.

Please check back later for any updates to this report.

the attachments to this post:

APD & Rolando Bonilla

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