Yesterday, I had the opportunity to go out and speak to organizers before the grief vigil and assembled march that began in Roseland. It is important to me to connect to these local leaders and those assembled to let them know I hear their concerns and empathize with them in their grief. We observed the largest assembly so far this week in Santa Rosa with up to 700 people gathered. The organized assembly was very peaceful, and I thank the organizers and those who peacefully participated.
Unfortunately, as this organized assembly ended and curfew began, hundreds remained and roamed the streets. Over 100 arrests were made for those violating the mandatory citywide curfew. SRPD officers worked well into the night to stop incidents of violence, destruction of property, and other criminal activity. Some of the most troubling behavior included dangerous sideshow activity, the brandishing of a shotgun, and rocks and bottles thrown at officers.
During the night, it came to my attention that some of our SRPD officers were not wearing their department-issued face coverings and face shields as is required Department protocol and aligns with Sonoma County’s Public Health Order to help stem the spread of COVID-19. As the Chief, I take full responsibility for this lapse in procedure. I have taken immediate action to rectify this. Officers cannot wear masks under all conditions but should wear them when it is safe to do so and when operations allow. SRPD is committed to upholding the Health Order for the safety of our officers and staff, and to help protect our community from further spread of the coronavirus, and we will do better. We will do better moving forward, that said, I continue to be impressed with the professionalism and perseverance of the men and women of our department, and I especially appreciate their long hours and tremendous efforts over the last several days.