Community Members, City Council Push Chief Hahn for Answers on Police Protocol

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SACRAMENTO -- Eleven questions about police protocol, policy and training were asked by Mayor Darrell Steinberg to Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn Tuesday at a special City Council meeting.

His questions stemmed from the police shooting death of Stephon Clark.

"We cannot make change or the chief cannot suggest change until we all have a common understanding of what the current practices are," Steinberg told council and community members.

On Tuesday the goal was to understand those practices. Chief Hahn answered the questions one by one about the protocol for a fleeing suspect, de-escalation and the use of non-lethal force.

"Officers are trained to consider distance, cover and the weapon the suspect possesses," Hahn said.

Council members even chimed in with their own questions. Councilmember Larry Carr asked about officer drug testing and mental health evaluations. There aren't any at the moment, according to Hahn.

Allen Warren asked if there was a punishment for officers who don't abide by body camera rules. Hahn says there is.

Hahn said the next steps are to "work on the changes that will bring us together."

An independent review of the Sacramento Police Department's use of force policy as well as training and a cultural immersion and implicit bias program are just some actions being taken to restore trust.

Chief Hahn said he wants to build a bridge between the community and police. The mayor requested he come back to meetings once every few weeks to report on recommendations for his department.

But many at Tuesday's City Council meeting question if that's possible.

"I'm not getting the sense from the police that they think anything really bad happened," said community member Dennis Hewitt.

In a week, the Sacramento Police Department will also be releasing the rest of the video from the night of March 18.

Even with the chief's presentation, public comment showed that for the third straight City Council meeting the cries for action are exactly the same.

"Do what is morally correct, which would be termination of these two officers right now, not after the investigation," said community member Anita Ross.

Two people were escorted out of the meeting because repeated requests to stop talking were ignored and a woman was banned from City Council meetings for a couple of weeks for cursing at the council and mayor.


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