SACRAMENTO, Cailf. (KTXL) — In light of the recent protests and police reforms sweeping across the country, a group of Black police chiefs from across California held a joint press conference Friday calling on reforms they’d like to see.
“I believe this group of men and women are uniquely qualified to address this issue,” Assemblyman Jim Cooper, D-Elk Grove, who assembled the group, said.
“Defunding the police departments is not the answer,” Napa Police Chief Robert Plummer said.
Cooper, a former Sacramento County Sheriff’s Deputy for 30 years, believes there needs to be more training on bias, de-escalation and historical policing problems. He says too much of the current training is done almost completely online.
“Why are we going online and clicking a button in a class? That really makes no sense to do that,” Cooper said. “Hearing from your colleagues talk about it in a classroom is much more impactful than sitting behind a computer.”
Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn was also among the group. He believes chiefs need to have more freedom when it comes to firing officers.
“Our community legitimately doesn’t feel that, a lot of time, officers are held accountable, even though many times they were held accountable, including termination, but we’re prevented from telling people that,” Hahn said.
Hahn also called for a national database of terminated officers, so departments in different parts of the country can avoid hiring those with a history of issues, though he claims the Sacramento Police Department already does that.
“We don’t hire any officers unless we’ve looked at their previous department’s files,” Hahn said.
As for Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg’s proposal to create a new community response department, Hahn says he supports the idea even though it would take funding away from his department.
“If something occurs out in our community and nobody knows who to call, they call us,” Hahn said. “If we had more appropriate people to respond, it would not only free up officers to do what only officers can do but it would also be more healthy for our community.”