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October 23, 2018
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City of RP Updates

Darrin Jenkins
Public safety:Good and getting better
August 24, 2018

Public safety is the highest priority for the City of Rohnert Park and I’m pleased to share some good news: break-ins and other serious crimes are down in Rohnert Park. 

For the first six months of 2018, we had 10 percent fewer serious crimes compared to 2017. This includes 12 percent fewer property crimes (burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft) and a flat level in violent crimes (rape, robbery and aggravated assault). Overall, we went from 532 instances of these crimes to 481 in the first half of the year. While we’ve had a slight uptick in less serious crimes, the overall numbers remain below 2017. 

These reductions continue a long-term trend of low crime rates. Since 2002, crime in Rohnert Park has decreased to comparatively low levels and remained fairly steady, despite increases in our population. This is consistent with national crime trends. 

Credit for continuing our low crime rate goes to the fine officers in our Department of Public Safety who take pride in protecting our community. But we could not do it alone – crime rates reflect a community’s values and we highly value the partnership we have with our residents as the “eyes and ears” for safety. We encourage you to take precautions with your homes and vehicles and to call 911 whenever you see questionable activity. 

We have other good news on public safety. As an organization that is always trying to get better, we hired a team of national experts to review our department of public safety and identify opportunities for improvement. That review, by the Center for Public Safety Management, found many good things about our department, noting “the department provides exceptional quality law enforcement and fire services. The staff is professional and dedicated to the mission of the department.” 

The report also noted that the Rohnert Park Public Safety model, which combines police and fire functions in one department with officers trained in both fields, is an excellent approach for a city such as ours with low crime rates and few fires. 

As we hoped and expected, the study also identified numerous opportunities for modernization. The study notes that implementing many of the recommendations will take months and years and suggests that it be used as a long-term plan. 

The review, by the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Public Safety Management, is separate from the city’s ongoing investigation into complaints about the conduct of some Department of Public Safety officers.

The city council will discuss this report at their meeting next Tuesday, Aug. 28 at 5 p.m. at city hall; all residents are welcome to attend. 

Hiring new Chief of Public Safety

After 10 years of service to our community, Brian Masterson has retired as the Chief of Rohnert Park’s Public Safety Department. We are starting to look for a new chief and invite all residents to provide your thoughts on the qualities and experience you would like to see in that position. The best way to provide input is to join us Monday evening, Aug. 27, at 6 p.m. at the community center where we will host a public meeting on this important topic. 

Enroll your Performer in Spreckels Youth In Arts

Does your child enjoy being in the spotlight? The Rohnert Park Performing Arts Center has exciting opportunities for that star in your life with our Youth in Arts classes. From Snow White to Peter Pan, there are thousands of characters, songs and scenes from musicals and animated movies. They will learn singing basics and build up their dramatic skills while acting out favorite stories from classics. Classes begin in September, so enroll today at the community center or on the city’s website. Youth in Arts will conclude with a small performance for family and loved ones.

If your youth prefers to work behind-the-scenes, our Introduction to costume class might be just the right fit, no pun intended.  Have you ever looked at those amazing costumes on stage and in movies and wish you knew how to do that? Or do you simply want to up your Halloween game? This class, taught by Spreckels’ resident costumer, Pamela Jo Johnson, will introduce your teen to the basics of costume design including design, construction and how things work with the wardrobe and backstage. This is a great way to introduce your crafty teen to the world of theater.