Sacramento Police have begun a monumental overhaul in culture, recruitment, training and response to establish the department as a national leader for progressive law enforcement.
From the trust its officers derive among community members to its reaction to gun violence, protest marches, mental health emergencies and homelessness, the police department is using data-driven research and street experience to reshape its practices and reform the way it does business.
As the owner of a florist shop, I’ve been in the business of emotions for two decades helping folks mark special occasions and milestones. But today those occasions are as scarce as people in Downtown Sacramento. And my emotions revolve around a lifeless and mostly empty Downtown as I struggle with how we can bring it back to its old vibrant self.
I remember how devastated I felt in March when the pandemic shutdown orders were issued. I felt the rug had been pulled out from under my feet. There is nothing worse than experiencing a loss of control over your life and livelihood after years of successfully managing a business.
I am a Black man, a cop and honored to be Sacramento chief of police. I hold this job at a perilous time. Countless progressive chiefs across the country, many Black, are being removed. They are collateral damage in the Black Lives Matter movement, scapegoats for a racist reality they didn’t create.
In a recent op-ed in the Bee, I discussed our police department’s response to summer protests that spread across the country. The response from retired law enforcement officials, and others, was immediate. Emails, letters, voicemails and social media posts were critical of SPD’s strategy and me personally.
In times of crisis, trust is the city of Sacramento’s most valuable commodity. This is true when it comes to fires, floods or COVID-19. Residents put their trust in city officials and staff to respond quickly, efficiently and effectively to help people in need.
As city manager, I am proud of the work the city has done to protect and support all Sacramentans during one of the most challenging chapters in our history.