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March 26, 2019
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CRPUSD seeking a new superintendent Cuts suggested for school district Cotati protests CASA compact Traffic concerns top RP survey SSU to host North Bay Women of Color conference Sonoma State president testifies for tax relief for disaster victims No criminal charges filed against PG&E in northern Ca. wildfires Promotions in the Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety 73rd Miss Sonoma County competition held at Spreckels Schools, facilities and bonds: Plans but no money Holocaust piano now in Cotati Rohnert Park Station Ave. update School district seeking new superintendent Don’t drive with an open container Fresh faces on the CRPUSD board A shimmer of hope against the angry heavy sky Newsom’s vision “cradle to career” RP Downtown project underway New alcohol fees for Rohnert Park Bad air quality cancels sports Official election winners as projected by the VOICE  RP swears in new council member 2018 local stories which made history ArtStart brings art to the RP Senior Center Cotati considers $15 min. wage Fun family Christmas events in Cotati Cougars’ season comes to a tearful sad conclusion CalFresh clients get Feb. benefits early Neighborhood watch meeting scheduled Dr. Dominguez and Hawkins named as director and co-director for Hanna Institute University Elementary School to host Maker World at SSU Animal Shelter League of RP receives grant Cotati Council reshuffles seats Help save lives by donating blood New laws on purchasing and concealing handguns Fencing in Sonoma County School district leaders tackle 1.9m deficit The Community Voice endorses candidates DA’s office awarded DUI Prosecution Grant Rohnert Park kid joins TCU El Camino graduates Rohnert Park Council says we don’t need another agency Rancho students excel in Poetry Out Loud  SC public safety heroes of the year Frightful, fun, free Halloween activities Cougars crush Ukiah Election projected winners November 6, 2018  Sonoma Clean Power offers no-cost energy upgrades Rancho advances to semifinals RP’s n­ew Director of Public Safety A stand-off with barricaded, suicidal woman ends safely in RP RP has a new director of public safety Mackenzie leaves SMART RP officers spent Sat. car chasing Public invited to give input on Downtown RP Site School board candidates voice opinions Woman stabbed on west side of RP LandPaths connects people to protected land Tech High Girl's Soccer Undefeated champions! AG Becerra issues consumer alert on price gouging in fire-affected communities Learn to docent at the SSU Fairfield Osborn Preserve New signs point in the right direction Where are the ski lifts? Is Cotati being targeted? State Farm property steams forward to Station Avenue Scrappers Steal Win RP Foundation issues grant Cotati allows second dispensary New residential building lands approved In Singapore Strait aboard a missile destroyer PG&E has a prediction model USCIS presents free training on how to apply for citizenship RP investigates new site for Corp. Yard Two arrested in RP motel for mail theft  Is Juuling the new norm? Rancho Cotate Band fundraiser BBQ Jessica Holman: Thirty-five years of Rancho Spirit Titans crush Mustangs Station Avenue gets final approval Cotati Council reviews trash plan Baseball League receives donation from local motorcycle club Cotati Police Chief Parish swears in new officer Garber A Sunday afternoon with retired football players Injury collision closes Golf Course Dr. Giving Kids Smiles in Rohnert Park New interim superintendent Krispy Kreme Doughnuts comes to Rohnert Park  Cougars blow past Gauchos  Rohnert Park honors its Veterans and Servicemen CHP reminds all of increased crimes Cougars beat Bulldogs More than 276,000 Dreamers have renewed DACA White receives Matt Walsh Memorial RP and Sunday festivities SSU fraternity banned for five years Cotati Chamber of Commerce Oktoberfest Rancho crushes Analy CA Homemaker Association needs volunteers Active duty honorees at the RP Veterans Day program Santa now knows her secret CPI receives funding to offer counseling in schools Caltrans works toward decarbonizing California transportation The Rancho Cotati Rotary Club hosts Humanitarian Award dinner SSU and SCOE offer high school internship RP’s new interim police chief Big changes to big project in Rohnert Park A possibility for Snyder Lane to have four lanes soon Rohnert Park road updates Sheriff’s Detectives arrest SR man after controlled delivery of ecstasy pills. Cotati comes out against CASA Penngrove Community Church celebrates 120 years Cotati approves tree lighting City of Cotati has apartment housing parking problems Operators ordered to pay for false advertising violations Becerra urges Ca. businesses resources to help prevent human trafficking Possible change to parking rules Students at University Elementary discussing the labyrinth Rohnert Park City Council Candidates NHTSA reminds motorists to drive sober this season R P Foundation gives grants to NOAH and Petaluma Bounty Summit State Bank annual report FEMA awards Sonoma Water grant March for the blind highlights need for more accessible sidewalks Cougar to Bear — Simmons’ new pelt SRJC picks up local quarterback The Cougars defeat the Jaguars at homecoming New laws take effect Jan. 1 Kids and firefighters compete in RP RP local, Petri Alva, 14, a nationally recognized athlete SweetPea celebrates 31 years Seawolves serve up a victory Cardinals rout Cougars How to help victims of wildfires Polynesia celebrated at annual Pacific Islander Festival Fire storm anniversary Plan approved for Station Ave. park Football in full swing, 3rd win Arrests and charges target Apple stores Annie Rasmussen Celebration of Life Revisiting those who lost it all: October wildfire victims still on the road to recovery SMART celebrates a year of service Penngrove native set for amazing voyage Cotati votes opposition to oil leases SC neighborhood sues illegal pot grower Penngrove grassfire destroys buildings Cotati Accordion Festival still a hit after 28 years RP residents provide input in police chief search Forum hosted by WLV for RP City Council candidates Supply giveaways lend a hand to families Police officers inspect inside of car Lowerys help with campaign Yes on Measure W will keep fire stations open RP to host community forum for public safety director search Emergency Alert System Test Sept. 10 & 12 Spreckels and Alchemia connects community It wasn’t an easy fight but Rancho wins again RP Safety Dept. climbs in remembrance of 9/11/18 Back to school for Rohnert Park and Cotati Another tough break for roller derby RP waits to make update to emergency alert system Cougars slay Dragons Third pedestrian struck by SMART train Enjoying ribs Little ones with big Polynesian dancing spirit Sidewalk repair gets big break from City of RP RP Health Center celebrates anniversary Imitating major leaguers Rohnert Park waiting for approval for canine program

RP Public Safety report card

By: Katherine Minkiewicz
August 31, 2018

Rohnert Park City Manager, Darrin Jenkins, met Tuesday evening with Rohnert Park City Council members to review an impartial analysis report from the Center for Public Safety Management. Despite the report’s findings that the RP Department of Public Safety provides “Exceptional quality law enforcement,” it does mention several points that the department needs to improve upon, most notably, officer recruitment and chain of command, which council members agreed to address over time.

CPSM, which has conducted over 150 studies of public safety operations throughout the United States, found a few key takeaways based on several study areas such as department staffing, response times and workload, operational effectiveness and organizational structure effectiveness.

According to the report, the main findings of the analysis state that Rohnert Park has a relatively low crime rate compared to other Sonoma County cities and a fairly high investigation clearance rate. In other words, the rate at which violent crimes like rape, robbery and assault, are solved is high and exceeds the state and national average for solving crimes (the national average for crime clearance for rape in 2016 was only 36.5 percent and 53.3 percent for assault).

In addition, they found, “Rohnert Park has a relatively low fire incidence and low fire loss rates and is an ideal candidate for the police and fire public safety model.”

The group also reported that overall, officers were very dedicated and professional and enjoyed the sense of family within the close-knit department.

However, the report also recommended the city to consider a number of changes.

Perhaps the biggest suggestion that would have the most change, would be in creating a new lieutenant/battalion chief and deputy director role, which would serve as a check and balance for the department’s operations.

As stated in the agenda item report compiled by Jenkins, “The lieutenant/battalion chief rank would be both operational and administrative and would establish a reporting and supervision level between the sergeant deputy director. According to CPSM, this would decrease the span of control currently carried by the three commanders and could enhance reporting, decision making and checks and balances among management, supervision and field officers.”

This would mean a change in sergeant positions and would create a shift of three deputy director positions underneath the director, whomever that may be.

Another suggestion from the Washington D.C. based organization, is to rethink the department’s current policy of, “no call is too small,” an idea that is also a drain on already thin police resources.

“This can be a tremendous strain on already stretched resources,” said Victor, a former assistant chief of police and associate with CPSM who helped with Thomas Wieczorek, CPSM principal, in giving the report.

CPSM believes an online reporting system for non-emergencies, such as reporting bike thefts or break ins, would be a more streamlined approach. Instead of an officer being assigned to the case a community service officer could then follow up with the case. 

In terms of officer recruitment, CPSM says the department should not only recruit officers from the Bay Area, but also nationwide in order to expand their current recruiting model.

“Recruitment is the number one issue here,” Wieczorek said. “This is problematic all across the country, for instance Salinas has 21 police department openings and younger people don’t want to work in government.” Wieczorek, who led a talk at a Washington D.C. school, asked students if anyone wanted to work in local government and according to him, hardly anyone raised their hand.

Assistant City Manager, Don Schwartz, says the group used a variety of methods in coming up with their data and suggestions, including the use of focus groups and interviews.

“The study relied extensively on intensive interviews with personnel… and focus groups were held with a representative cross-section of employees within the department,” the report states.

CPSM also interviewed residents in the community for input and conducted admin/operational observance. 

Vice Mayor Joseph Callinan said of the report study and results that there are a lot of interesting ideas from the report for city staff to consider and he would like to collaborate more with CPSM in the future.

“I think an ongoing partnership is a great idea for us because I think having an outside opinion and view is really helpful and I look forward to going over this with Mr. Jenkins and the council to implement as much as we can, as soon as we can.”

Mayor Pam Stafford agreed, saying that the report will be a great resource for the council and city staff. She also said, “I’m glad to hear that they feel like they’re a family with city, that is a good thing to hear.

The CPSM report is an entirely separate endeavor from the current, ongoing investigation into a former RP Public Safety officer’s work in seizing copious amounts of marijuana near the Mendocino County border in an unmarked police car.

Schwartz said the CPSM report did not focus on addressing individual employees but on the department as a whole.

Earlier this year city council members authorized Jenkins to execute the review agreement with the organization in an effort to get feedback and see what areas the department needed to grow in.

Council member Gina Belforte pointed out that while the feedback is very helpful it is also nice to know that the department is doing a good job.

“To hear you say that our firefighters do an excellent job and that our public safety is doing an excellent job… I really hope this puts to rest for people who really doubt the ability of Rohnert Park Public Safety officers’ ability to capture bad guys or to put out a fire and to serve this community, because this says it right here and it is independent,” Belforte exclaimed.