Community Listening Sessions
An open dialogue with the community plays an important role in the ongoing strategic efforts of the Santa Rosa Police Department. Within the first 90 days of his appointment to Chief of Police, Chief Rainer Navarro invited the public to attend one of five Community Listening Sessions.
The goal of these Community Listening Sessions was to gain community feedback about public safety in Santa Rosa. The roundtable format allowed community members to discuss their concerns directly with SRPD staff. During the discussions, the staff members took notes and reported back to the larger group about main themes and discussion points.
The Community Listening Sessions took place in 2019 in the:
- Northeast at Maria Carrillo High School on October 15
- Southwest at Roseland University Prep on November 13
- Downtown at DeTurk Round Barn on November 14
- Southeast at Montgomery High School on November 21
- Northwest at Schaefer Charter School on December 4
This summary report is the compilation of the table notes and feedback received via the online RSVP form. This community feedback will assist in the development of police department strategy and initiatives in addressing neighborhood problems and community needs.
SRPD received 194 online RSVPs for all meetings and approximately 97 people in total attended.
|Meeting||# of RSVPs||# of Attendees|
Summary of Discussions:
Common themes throughout all the meetings included:
- Homelessness: One of the largest topics discussed. Concerns about the Joe Rodota Trail and other encampments.
- Traffic: Concerns about drivers speeding and running red lights.
- Public information: There were many mentions in appreciation of Nixle as a notification tool. A number of statements were made about wanting more alerts regarding large accidents and greater transparency of police efforts.
- Staffing: There were a number of comments regarding the lengthy response time to calls. One factor limiting faster response times for calls is staffing limitations and a higher volume of high priority calls.
Recap of the Northeast Community Listening Session
The Northeast Community Listening Session was the first session of the series. During this session, a majority of the discussions centered around homelessness (44%) and traffic (36%). Other concerns included crime in general, more public education and information, and more engagement activities with officers. A review of all notes from the meetings are available for review here.
Recap of the Southwest Community Listening Session
During the Southwest Community Listening Session, traffic was a major concern, dominating 33% of the discussion. Specific traffic concerns spanned from sideshows to traffic congestion to pedestrian and bicyclist safety. Following traffic, other concerns included homelessness (21%) with a nearly even distribution of concern about public information, crime, engagement, and staffing. A review of all notes from the meetings are available for review here.
Recap of the Downtown Community Listening Session.
The Downtown Community Listening Session primarily centered around traffic concerns (38%). Speeding, red light violations, congestion in general and from special events, and pedestrian and bicyclist safety, were among the specific traffic concerns discussed. Other topics discussed at this meeting included public information (19%) and engagement (18%), followed by homelessness (7%). A review of all notes from the meetings are available for review here.
Recap of the Southeast Community Listening Session.
Traffic (36%) and homelessness (35%) dominated the topics for discussion during the Southeast Community Listening Session. Recurring concerns for traffic included speeding and traffic violations. Recurring concerns about homelessness included trash and clean-up, animal control, public camping and RV parking. Other topics discussed during this meeting included public information (8%), crime (5%), and engagement (5%). A review of all notes from the meetings are available for review here: here.
Recap of the Northwest Community Listening Session.
During the Northwest Community Listening Session, homelessness (32%) and engagement (29%) were the dominant topics discussed, followed by traffic (7%). Concerns included the Joe Rodota Trail, loss of safe trail access, desire for more information about what is being done about homelessness, and responsiveness to complaints. Nixle usage and various traffic violations were also discussed at this meeting. A review of all notes from the meetings are available for review here.
Santa Rosa Police Department’s Actions and Plans:
In response to the concerns brought up during the Community Listening Sessions, the Santa Rosa Police Department has compiled the following existing strategies and new plans to highlight how the police department tackles these community issues.
The Santa Rosa Police Department continues to collaborate with other city departments and agency partners to address issues related to homelessness in Santa Rosa. Through respect and professionalism, our goal is to hold people accountable while maintaining a focus on providing services.
- SRPD continues enforcement of criminal activity, vehicle code violations, and environmental crimes.
- The Downtown Enforcement Team (DET) has increased staffing back to six officers. In their expanding role throughout the City, only four DET officers were ineffective in reducing impacts to patrol and the community. This allows for better coverage for all seven days. The additional staff also allows the team to improve partnerships with HOST and other stakeholders to focus on homelessness, and the huge effect it has on the quality of life within our community.
- Officers identify beat projects related to homelessness and work with the DET and stakeholders to address issues in a more timely manner.
- SRPD attends meetings weekly and partners with community members such as Project Homeless Outreach Partnership and Engagement (HOPE), Homeless Encampment Assistance Program (HEAP), and Homeless Action Team (HAT) to address homelessness-related issues throughout the City.
- Project HOPE is a multi-disciplinary team that includes representatives from Santa Rosa Police, Santa Rosa Fire, American Medical Response, local hospitals, District Attorney, and the Public Defender’s Office.
- In partnership with Traffic Engineering, SRPD is enforcing the new “No Overnight Parking Pilot Program,” which included the posting of “No Overnight Parking Signs” to prevent vehicles from relocating within Corporate Center Parkway.
- You may review the City’s short and long-term measures in response to the community’s concerns about homelessness here: https://srcity.org/691/Homelessness-Solutions
The Santa Rosa Police Department has a dedicated Traffic Bureau with a DUI Enforcement / Accident Investigation Team and a Motorcycle Traffic Enforcement Team.
- Each week SRPD uses data to identify a Special Enforcement Area (SEA) or an intersection at high-risk for accidents, at which SRPD traffic officers monitor this intersection closely for traffic violations.
- SRPD was awarded a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) for a one-year enforcement and education program. The money will fund various activities intended to reduce deaths and injuries on California roads. The grant-related activities are for the 2020 federal fiscal year, which runs from October 1, 2019, to September 30, 2020. The funding from the OTS will be used for numerous programs, including:
- DUI/driver’s license checkpoints.
- Patrols specifically looking for suspected alcohol or drug-impaired drivers. In 2019, SRPD made 656 DUI arrests.
- Patrols targeting violations of California’s hands-free cell phone law and vehicle code violations by drivers, motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians that put other roadway users at risk.
- Patrols targeting the primary causes of crashes: Speeding, improper turns, running stop signs or signals, right-of-way violations and driving on the wrong side of the road.
- Patrols specifically looking for seat belt and child safety seat violations.
- Traffic safety education presentations for youth and community members on distracted and impaired driving, bicycle and pedestrian safety
- Creating “Hot Sheets” identifying repeat DUI offenders.
- Officer training to identify suspected impaired drivers and conduct sobriety tests.
- To address the recent rise in “sideshow” events throughout the City, SRPD has been working collaboratively with the California Highway Patrol and the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office, in addition to extra SRPD patrol officers, specifically assigned to monitor these types of events throughout the City.
Community engagement and public education continue to be a priority for Chief Rainer Navarro and the Santa Rosa Police Department. Current engagement efforts include:
- Coffee with a Cop – a program that brings police officers and the community members together, over coffee, to discuss issues and learn more about each other. SRPD hosts Coffee with a Cop quarterly and varies the day, time, and location to reach the most people.
- Back-to-School Shopping Spree - This shopping spree helps lower-income families make sure their children have everything they need to start the school year off right. While there, SRPD Officers had a chance to meet and chat with children after they shopped, conduct a K9 demonstration, and tour patrol vehicles.
- Shop with a Cop - Children from the YWCA Women’s Shelter, Valley of the Moon Children’s Home and Community Action Partnership, get to shop at Target with SRPD employees. Each child was given a $110 gift card to purchase toys, clothes, and other items. After shopping, SRPD Command Staff make and serve breakfast to the participating children and their families.
- Officers regularly attend community events and make classroom visits to connect with the community.
- Officers teach the G.R.E.A.T. Program, a gang prevention program which teaches positive life skills to 5th grade students.
- SRPD is forming a Community Engagement Team to focus on fostering positive relationships with the community, participate in engagement activities, and ensure a police representation at fundamental community events.
- The Chief and Command Staff members attend community meetings throughout Santa Rosa on a regular basis related to homelessness, traffic, and emerging issues.
- The Chief is forming a Chief’s Advisory Board in Spring 2020 to enhance communication with the community.
Public Information and Education:
Since the wildfires of October 2017, SRPD has increased the frequency of communication and expanded the channels of communication for police-related incidents. The community often receives notifications of incidents as they are happening via Nixle and social media platforms. Public information and education efforts include:
- SRPD distributed over 7.5 million Nixle text messages in 2019, relating to public safety incidents and police activity.
- SRPD social media posts in 2019 received 16.3 million impressions resulting in 2 million engagements and 451,000 link clicks.
- SRPD filmed and published its first Community Briefing Video in 2019, a new public information effort to provide additional information and insight into critical incidents.
- SRPD launched its transparency information web page to provide convenient access to responsive records, training materials, and policies and procedures.
- SRPD launched an internship program, hiring a graphic design and video production intern to assist in the development of videos and outreach materials.
- The Police Department is working with the City Manager’s Office to initiate the process of selecting and contracting with a new police auditor.