On Sunday, September 25, 2022, members of the Santa Rosa Police Department Special Enforcement Team (SET) and SRPD Officer Westin Schindler, were honored by Congressman Mike Thompson during his “Public Safety Heroes Reception” in Vallejo. Rep. Thompson (CA-05) is extremely passionate about gun violence prevention and is Chair of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force. As recently as September 7, 2022, Rep. Thompson met with Chief John Cregan and Santa Rosa Councilmember Natalie Rogers to hold a press conference where gun violence prevention and the impact of “ghost guns” on the community was discussed. Each year, Rep. Thompson honors public safety heroes throughout California’s Fifth District and chose our SRPD officers specifically for their efforts in reducing violent crime and seizure of illegal and illegally possessed firearms.
Rep. Thompson presented a Congressional Record certificate to each recipient, which will be permanently memorialized when he reads the text into the congressional record on a future date. The officers receiving this high honor are Sergeant Terry White, Officer Jeff Badger, Officer Jason Jucutan, Officer Dane Schindler, Officer Westin Schindler, and Officer Brett Wright.
The Santa Rosa Police Department’s Special Enforcement Team (SET) was created in July 2021 due to an uptick in violent crime in Santa Rosa. Led by Sergeant Terry White, Officer Jeff Badger, Officer Jason Jucutan, Officer Dane Schindler, and Officer Brett Wright’s primary focus is seizing illegal and illegally possessed firearms and curbing violent crime in the City of Santa Rosa through proactive enforcement and intelligence gathering techniques. In the last twelve months, SET officers have taken approximately 52 illegal guns (including ghost guns) off the streets and since July 2021. Overall, there has been a 75% increase of guns seized by officers, a 179% increase of ghost guns seized, and due to their high visibility and proactive approach, 31% fewer shootings in the City of Santa Rosa.
SET officers’ primary objectives are violence reduction, confiscating illegal guns (ghost guns), and contacting repeat offenders through proactive enforcement in high-crime areas. The four officers assigned to SET are responsible for responding to and preventing violent crime and firearm incidents. The regular duties of SET include but are not limited to: conducting probation and parole searches, writing and serving search warrants, cultivating confidential informants, assisting Special Services Division with high-profile cases, and responding to violent crime calls for service to assist patrol. SET has also recently been the lead team proactively responding to violent sideshows in Santa Rosa, supplementing our patrol and traffic enforcement teams. Ultimately, this team makes our Santa Rosa community a safer place to live, work and play.
Officer Westin Schindler is an extremely proactive patrol officer who spends most of his time in-between calls for service actively policing areas suffering from high violent crime rates with the sole intention of preventing criminal activity. Over the past year, Officer Schindler has seized seven illegally possessed firearms during proactive traffic enforcement stops. He seized an additional 3 firearms during dispatched calls for service after conducting thorough investigations and developing the probable cause necessary to take the guns. Of the firearms seized, several were Polymer80 “ghost guns” and assault rifles. Officer Schindler’s ability to proactively enforce criminal activity is exceptionally impressive given the number of calls for service he and other officers must respond to. The officers of the Santa Rosa Police Department respond to over 100,000 calls for service each year. The busy shifts Officer Schindler typically works average between 200 and 300 dispatched calls for service per day. Officer Schindler manages his time effectively so he can not only provide the community members of Santa Rosa with the high level of service they deserve when he responds to a call, but also so he can proactively seek out criminal activity and take enforcement action.
The Santa Rosa Police Department is beyond proud of these officers and their proactive efforts in violent crime reduction in the City of Santa Rosa. It is an honor they are being recognized by Congressman Thompson for seizing a large number of illegal guns off the streets, making Santa Rosa a safer community.