SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — After stunning the community Wednesday with word of his plans to retire, Sacramento’s police chief is sharing more about his time leading a force of more than one thousand.
With that many personalities involved, Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn told FOX40 he’s most proud of the fact that whether or not they disagreed, were on the fence or were excited about the changes he’s tried to make, officers have kept showing up to serve.
“I’m sure, maybe the sexy story would be some sort of scandal, I’m getting fired or anything. The real answer is it’s time,” Hahn said the day after his announcement. “I’ve been a police officer for 34 years, police chief for 10 years, and it was a good time not only for me but I think for this department.”
Hahn was introspective as he headed up to his office on the first full day of what the whole city learned by tweet will be his last five months on the job.
FOX40 spoke with the chief of police four years ago while he was helping to coach his daughters’ track team and had just been named the capital city’s new chief.
Back then — as the first Black chief in a city facing racial unrest and mistrust between minority communities and the department — Hahn said he didn’t want to be a Band-Aid.
“If we’re talking about things two years from now, one year from now, then I’m not successful, and me being Black doesn’t make any difference,” Hahn said. “We’re not successful, if we have a large amount of trust on one side of town and on the other side of town it’s the complete opposite, we’re not a successful police department or a successful community if that’s the case.”
Early in his tenure, the city split loudly over the actions his officers took in the backyard of a Meadowview home, actions that left Stephon Clark dead at the hands of police. The two officers who shot him claimed they mistook his cell phone for a gun.
As the city’s streets erupted again last summer over the death of George Floyd, the officers who killed Clark had not been tossed from the force, something referenced by the Clark family as they reacted with dismay to Hahn’s decision to retire.
Some Sacramento residents might say the city may be at a worse point than when Hahn came into office.
“I think we’re moving in the right direction. You don’t change hundreds and hundreds of years overnight. We’re dealing with culture. We’re dealing with implicit bias,” Hahn said. “I do think we are in a better spot, but we’re not where we can be, where we should be, and not just a police department but as a community.”
“It’s up to all of us. This division doesn’t work, this saying all cops are bad doesn’t work, this saying all certain segments of our community doesn’t work. Where did it get us? It hasn’t gotten us anywhere. This is up to us collectively,” Hahn continued.
Hahn went on to share that he was with Stephon Clark’s grandmother Wednesday night. He said a family in pain has a right to their opinions but that a department needs to follow the facts and that that’s what was done.
With no specific plans set yet, he said he’s not ruling out a future that might have something to do with law enforcement, but his next chapter definitely won’t be as a police chief.