A Message from Mayor Tom Schwedhelm on a Commitment to Action
As we head into the weekend, I want to again acknowledge the ongoing challenges faced by our community this past week and the opportunities arising for moving forward. Many community members, including local youth, participated in peaceful and purposeful protests over the course of the last few days. I, along with staff from the City of Santa Rosa have received thousands of emails and phone calls from residents throughout our city and have also had several initial conversations with community members over the last few days. I want to reiterate what I said earlier this week: I see you. I hear you. YOU matter. Please know that we are using this input to develop concrete and actionable next steps with our community.
Yesterday, myself and Police Chief Navarro, along with other City staff had the opportunity to participate in a productive and transparent dialogue with some of our youth leaders from Community Action Partnership’s Youth Civic Engagement Project. We listened to how the youth are feeling about the tragic death of George Floyd and their struggle with the appropriate response to effect change. This discussion also centered around strategies on community-wide safety, social injustice, and how young people can partner with the City of Santa Rosa to collectively move forward as a community.
Some of the emails I have received point to the 8 Can’t Wait Project. This project outlines eight policies for police departments to implement, such as banning chokeholds, requiring deescalation tactics, and intervening duties. I had initial conversations with Chief Navarro regarding these policies and we will be continuing this dialog for some policy recommendations. This week, I also signed the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance’s Mayor’s Pledge. By signing this pledge, I commit to do the following:
- Review the Santa Rosa Police Department’s use of force policies;
- Engage with the Santa Rosa community and include a diverse range of input, experiences, and stories;
- Report back to the community what I heard from this engagement work; and
- Reform Santa Rosa Police Department’s use of force policies.
To this end, I am committed to working with our community and having the difficult, but necessary conversations that must take place in order to move forward in creating a safer, more inclusive city for all. I am working with our Community Engagement staff to develop next steps for creating more expansive space for dialogue with the community and identifying other opportunities for meaningful community engagement. I will continue to keep you informed of our efforts.