The City of Rohnert Park announced that it has hired Howard Jordan, a police practices and procedures expert and retired police chief, to help the city investigate allegations involving police practices related to past drug interdiction incidents.
A number of complaints have been filed by individuals over traffic stops and asset forfeitures conducted by Rohnert Park police officers.
The city is in the process of investigating what happened to determine whether any of the complaints are well founded and has expanded its investigation into a wider examination of police practices and policies.
“The City of Rohnert Park takes these allegations very seriously,” City Manager Darrin Jenkins said. “We intend to fully investigate whether all policies and procedures were followed. If policies and procedures were not followed, we intend to address any missteps.”
“We have great respect for our Public Safety officers and our Public Safety Department. It isbecause of that respect that we will make sure that any misdeeds are uncovered and any recommended improvements are implement,” Jenkins said.
The city is pleased to welcome Howard Jordan, who served on the Oakland Police Departmentfor more than 25 years, during which time he helped reduce violent crime and helped launch a real-time crime reporting program for police officers to speed investigations. Jordan also provides instruction to students in Administration of Justice programs at Diablo Valley Collegeand Merritt College.
Prior to the passage of Proposition 64, the California voter initiative to legalize marijuana, the city’s police force joined other Sonoma County law enforcement agencies in an interdiction program focused on Highway 101, which for years has been a major drug trafficking route.
The impetus for this was a series of drug-related murders and other violent crimes in SonomaCounty, often involving out-of-state drug traffickers. In one incident, in February 2013, men were shot and killed in nearby Forestville during a large marijuana drug transaction.
After this incident, Rohnert Park police worked with other Sonoma County police forces to develop a Highway 101 interdiction program, to crack down on violent crime involving methamphetamines, opioids, cocaine, ecstasy, and marijuana.
The program has been effective in many ways. Rohnert Park’s crime rate has remainedhistorically low and response times to fires and other emergencies are in line with national standards.
Around February of 2017, in response to voters’ approval of Proposition 64 and the SonomaCounty District Attorney’s Office changing its approach to marijuana crimes, the Rohnert Park Public Safety Department adjusted city practices to limit its pursuit of marijuana-related cases, including most interdiction efforts.
The city is committed to compliance with the law and our mission to serve and protect the public.
In the event concerns are raised about police officer conduct, we take the concerns seriously and investigate. When all the facts are known, we take appropriate measures.
The city is in the process of recruiting and hiring new officers to increase Public Safety Department staffing. The city also has begun the process of searching for a new Public Safety Director, following the recent announcement by Public Safety Director Brian Masterson that he plans to retire this month.