Sacramento Police Chief Announces Retirement, Reflects on Time as Top Cop

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SACRAMENTO -- After thirty-three years in law enforcement, and three as chief of Sacramento Police, Sam Somers announced Tuesday that come December, he plans to resign as the city’s top cop.

"I'm hoping that the time that I spent here, people are going to say that it was better than what it was [before],” said Somers before a city council meeting Tuesday.

Since his tenure began, the city's violent crime rate was on a downward trend. According to FBI statistics, Sacramento hit near historic lows in murders, manslaughter and robberies before spiking back up in 2015. Under his watch the city began using its ShotSpotter technology, which allows officers to pinpoint the locations of shootings, a tool the department highly touts.

With Chief Somers, Sacramento's mayor, city manager and public works director will step down. Sacramento Sheriff Scott Jones will also be replaced if he wins his congressional race.

"There's a lot of change, but that's the great thing about life in general, and that's the great thing about here is change brings new ideas,” Somers said.

Somers tenure is not without controversy. The same day he announced his plans to retire, family members of Joseph Mann, a mentally ill man shot and killed by police in July, demanded police release body cam footage of the incident, flanked by supporters who want more accountability from police.

"Think about it, if your brother was shot 16 times, wouldn't you want to know…we just want to know what happened to my brother,” said Mann’s brother in front of city council members.

“I'm glad only because we need change. We need change now. If he's not a part of the change, and if he feels this is too much pressure, then we need someone new," said Rashid Sidqe with Law Enforcement Accountability Directive.

Somers responded directly to questions about releasing the Mann video.

"Oh I think at some point it will be released. I'm not saying it won't. But it's about timing, when the actual video goes out. Nobody wants to shoot somebody and kill them. Nobody comes to work to be in a shooting,” said Somers.

He went on to say releasing the video would only show a few moments without context rather than the entire event that unfolded. The issue may persist until Somers' last day on the job.

His last day will be Dec. 9.


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