California Attorney General Xavier Becerra on Tuesday announced the release of a California Department of Justice report on use of force-related polices, training, and practices within the Sacramento Police Department. The report is in addition to DOJ’s independent oversight into the shooting death of Stephon Alonzo Clark in 2017. The purpose of the report is to provide the Sacramento Police Department with recommendations grounded in evidence and promising practices from around the country to help guide the reform efforts it has independently committed to pursue.
"We stand together today to take an important step forward to strengthen the trust that must exist between our communities and law enforcement officers as they work to protect all Californians," said Attorney General Becerra. "This report will provide the Sacramento Police Department with a range of substantive recommendations to do just that. I thank Chief Daniel Hahn for opening the doors to his department for the Department of Justice to conduct this important, independent review."
However, when asked by reporters if the Stephon Clark shooting was a part of the findings in this new report, Becerra said it was not. He cited concerns about the ongoing investigation into the fatal shooting. "That will finish when that is finished."
"We invited the California Attorney General to examine our agency because the Sacramento Police Department isn’t interested in being good enough, or in narrowly complying with the laws and policies governing our work," said Sacramento Chief of Police Daniel Hahn. "We continue to seek ways to be a leader in law enforcement and to set an example of transparency, community involvement, and constant improvement."
Sacramento Mayor Darrell also spoke at the Tuesday news conference from the DOJ headquarters in Sacramento. "Xavier Becerra and his agency have done our Police Department, our City, and our community a major service by helping push the change that Chief Hahn and the City Council started," said Mayor Steinberg. "I am confident the Police Department will embrace the findings of this examination and put them into action, ensuring that we are a city where police and community work in partnership and where we lead the way to fairness and transparency."
The DOJ report makes the following recommendations:
- More expressly connecting the sanctity of human life with use of force-related policies;
- Prohibiting certain problematic uses of force, including needlessly high-risk force, such as chokeholds, and shooting at or from moving vehicles;
- Establishing a Use of Force Review Board;
- Requiring annual use of force training for all staff, regardless of rank;
- Finding meaningful ways to incorporate community members into the lesson plan development process during training;
- Conducting formal after-action reviews with officers, supervisors, and command staff, following officer-involved shootings;
- Developing and implementing a community outreach plan that includes regularly scheduled and broadly accessible meetings with Sacramento residents; and
- Working towards providing greater transparency by consistently releasing information regarding use of force and other related topics.
Becerra and his staff believe the report show that Sacramento Police Department personnel behave professionally and are committed to change.
The report issued on Tuesday is the first of two looking into the Sacramento Police Department’s use of force-related policies and systems. A specific time for the release of the second report has yet to be determined.