IN THE DISTRICT: From tragedy comes opportunity for positive change

To say that the past month at City Council has been challenging is a vast understatement. Issues related to the shooting of Stephon Clark have overwhelmed both the council’s work as well as a significant portion of our staff time. That said, I truly believe that we will come out of this a better city. If we don’t evolve this tragedy into an opportunity for positive change, then shame on us.

I am incredibly proud of the city’s leadership, including the work of the mayor, council, city staff, the police chief and his department, our faith leaders and many, many community-based organizations. Similar tragedies in other municipalities have led to riots, looting, cars being overturned and burning tires in the streets. We have seen none of that in Sacramento. Rather, raw emotions were channeled into peaceful demonstrations, with minimal damage and arrests. I want to especially thank our leaders in the African American community as well as our men and women in uniform, for showing restraint and understanding during this emotionally charged and difficult time.

We must use this as an opportunity for change. At one level, the council, with leadership from Police Chief Daniel Hahn, has begun the discussion around our practices, procedures and training. We must ask and answer questions about how our officers got to the point where a decision was made to fire their weapons. We must also look at what happened afterward. The chief has already made a change in protocols around the audio of body cameras, which will be required to stay on following an incident.

Most importantly, the council will need to make some hard decisions about our budget. We have committed to support at-risk communities, attacking some of the challenges of inequity that create and perpetuate our problems – but how can we best support these communities? Looking at prevention programs that support opportunities for our young people is a high priority for me. I am excited that the city put out $500,000 last week for these types of programs. It is a down payment on the need, but a significant step forward.

As always, I look forward to your input on these important issues. I was proud of our neighborhood leadership for submitting a letter of support citing these important matters. As always, Curtis Park shows its leadership on important matters in our community.

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