STOCKTON, Calif. (KTXL) — In honor of Juneteenth, Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs addressed his city virtually about the continued push for racial equality.
“Folks are clamoring for change, which is needed,” Mayor Tubbs said Friday. “But I don’t want it to get lost, the work our city, our community, our police department has been doing for the past several years.”
Tubbs highlighted what the city and police department have done over the years to improve policing.
“In 2019, the city of Stockton actually led the state of California in decline of officer-involved shootings and use of force incidents,” Tubbs said.
The mayor attributes the decline to a number of policies the city and police have already put in place.
“We implemented a couple years ago with robust training and implicit bias training and procedural justice training,” Tubbs explained.
While some activists are calling to defund the police, Mayor Tubbs made it clear that won’t be happening in Stockton.
“We won’t be taking money away from our minimally-staffed police department,” he said. “We are still vastly, vastly, vastly understaffed compared to peer cities with our populations.”
He said most of the city’s $130 million police budget comes from voter-approved tax measures aimed at maintaining a certain number of officers.
So instead, Tubbs said he’d like to see increased funding to other programs to lessen the burden on police.
“We don’t want officers responding to homelessness or to poverty or to mental health,” Tubbs said. “And we need the community to help us figure out how do we get more social workers, get more mental health workers and partner with the institutions that actually have those people on payroll.”
He laid out plans for the city manager and police chief to come up with a proposal by the end of summer for a civilian oversight committee to improve community trust.
“So we know that those who protect and serve also have a layer of accountability to the people that they’re protecting and serving,” the mayor said.
When asked about other police reforms at the state and federal level, Tubbs said he supports calls to end qualified immunity, a legal doctrine often used to protect officers in use-of-force cases.