Statement from Chief Navarro in Response to the Sonoma County Commission on Human Rights Report:
The Santa Rosa Police Department is a proactive, progressive, and professional organization committed to making Santa Rosa a safe place to live, work, and play.
I have received the Sonoma County Commission on Human Rights Comprehensive Report on Police Violence and a full review by myself and Command Staff is underway. It is disappointing that a document titled as “Comprehensive” would omit and not even request information from the Santa Rosa Police Department regarding the protests.
The right to peacefully assemble is a right valued by our community and protected by the men and women of our department. During the early George Floyd protests, our city experienced great turmoil as peaceful protests gave way to unlawful assemblies characterized by violence against peaceful protestors, violence against officers, and damage to property.
We take allegations of violence against protestors and/or misconduct very seriously and investigations related to filed complaints are underway. Additionally, the City of Santa Rosa is in the final selection process of a third-party after-action assessment of SRPD’s response to the George Floyd Protests. More information will be released upon completion of the report.
Even as protests continued in the city, members of City staff including the police department were meeting regularly with partner organizations in the Black and Latinx communities. These discussions continue and actions have come out of them including, but not limited to:
- Undertaking a comprehensive “Community Empowerment Strategy,” by which the City Council and staff are engaging with the community, particularly communities of color, to explore issues, options, and best practices.
- Established a Public Safety Subcommittee (a Brown Act committee) of the City Council to examine police policies, opportunities for positive reforms or enhancements, and city-wide measures.
- Banning of the carotid restraint as a use-of-force option within SRPD operations.
- Publication of the 2019 police department statistics including calls for service volumes and use of force data. This is an ongoing effort as more data is compiled, it will be published.
Just as I expect every employee in our organization to act without bias and treat everyone we come into contact with fairly and justly; a categorical judgment about the character of the men and women of this department is flawed at best and prejudice at worse.
I fully support an in-depth analysis of our policies to continue building trust between police and the public. Let’s build a bridge together, not more walls.
Learn more about the changes the Santa Rosa Police Department is making at srcity.org/changeforthebetter
- Chief Rainer Navarro