Since the Stephon Clark shooting in South Sacramento in March, Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn has talked about changes in policing policy.
Some changes were made almost immediately; others were outlined in a presentation Monday night to the Community Police Review Commission. That included a new foot pursuit policy, something that would be brand new for the department.
Hahn joined Insight to discuss this and more, including the ongoing investigation into Clark’s shooting and proposed legislation that would increase public access to police records.
Here are some highlights from his interview with host Beth Ruyak.
On the ongoing investigation into the police shooting of Stephon Clark
So they are doing an independent parallel investigation, and it has not gone as a completed case over to the D.A. and Attorney General yet. We're hoping to do that soon. But it's imperative on criminal investigations or investigations in general that we gather all the facts so they have a whole case to review.
On increasing public trust in the police department
I don't believe anything has significantly changed, which is what it needs to do, because that doesn't happen overnight anyway. That happens over time. This is not a simple issue that one single thing will make it significantly better.
We have done a lot of things and we will continue to do new things and we're always open to new ways of doing things. We've done new hiring practices, new training programs. We just did a day a service out in Del Paso Heights with our recently graduated academy. We didn't used to do that. We had a half a day of speaking with the community of what's important to them out in Del Paso Heights.
So I think all those things combined will, over time, move the needle in terms of trust and I do believe we can we can get to a place where neighborhoods such as Meadowview, where this shooting happened, and Del Paso Heights can have the same level of trust as we have in other neighborhoods.
On the department’s new foot chase policy
We get in a foot pursuits probably every single day and night in this city. So even on top of this shooting that we're talking about, I think a foot pursuit policy is critical because it's something that frequently happens in our community and this policy really gives direction and puts into writing what an officer is supposed to be thinking about when they're chasing somebody, very similar to what we did years ago with our vehicle pursuit policy.
It doesn't mean that the officer is going to see something and then stop and turn around and walk away. It might mean that the officer stops actively foot chasing after you, but sets up a perimeter. Maybe the helicopter is there so we can monitor you from the air or maybe there's officers on the next street. It doesn't mean that as soon as you start running, the officer is just going to pack their bags and turn around and walk away.
On proposed legislation that would allow public access to police records in use-of-force cases
Well, I'm not intimately familiar with those bills. I haven't had a chance to sit down and read every word. But I do think there is definitely room for improvement in regards to communicating with our public what is going on with our personnel. So there's always a balancing act between the safety of the officers, due to their personnel records, but also informing the community that we are holding our people accountable and that there are consequences for behavior that doesn't comply with our policy.
These interview highlights have been edited for length and clarity. You can listen to the full interview at the top of this story.