City of Vallejo agrees to reform police department

Bay Area

VALLEJO, CA – MAY 07: Vallejo Police Department Corporal John Garcia goes over paperwork in his patrol car as he gets ready to patrol the streets May 7, 2008 in Vallejo, California. The Vallejo City Council voted overwhelmingly on April 6 for the city to file for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection as the city of 117,000 struggles with a $16 million shortfall and no reserve funds for the fiscal year that begins on July 1st. The city’s budget woes are being blamed in part by the ailing housing market and inflated public service employee wages. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)*** Local Caption *** John Garcia

VALLEJO, Calif. (BCN) — The Vallejo City Council approved an agreement with the state Department of Justice to collaboratively reform the Vallejo Police Department’s policies and practices.

The Department of Justice and the city of Vallejo began collaborating at the end of 2019 following a third-party evaluation of the police department’s practices and use of force.

Five Vallejo officers were involved in several shootings between 2016 and 2019, including the 2019 shooting of 20-year-old rapper Willie McCoy.

The agreement, which California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced last Friday, will focus on proper use-of-force procedures, anti-bias training and bringing the department’s training, policies and transparency in line with national standards and best practices, according to the Department of Justice.

“Improving the relationship between the Vallejo Police Department and the community continues to be a focus for the city, and now that goal is on the forefront of our residents’ minds more than ever,” Vallejo city manager Greg Nyhoff said.

While the agreement had been in development for several months, the timing of its announcement was less than a week after the death of 22-year-old Sean Monterrosa’s death, who was fatally shot by a Vallejo police officer on June 2.

Officers responded to a report of a looting near a Walgreens just after midnight and saw Monterrosa, a San Francisco resident, running from the building toward a vehicle.

Monterrosa then kneeled to the ground with his arms above his waist while facing officers at the scene. one officer, Jarrett Tonn, believing the hammer sticking out of his pocket was the butt of a gun, fired at least five times at Monterrosa through the windshield of his squad car, hitting him once, according to Vallejo police.

Monterrosa later died at a hospital.

Tonn has been placed on administrative leave while investigations by the Vallejo police and the Solano County District Attorney’s office are completed.

“The Vallejo Police Department is the community’s police department, and I’m committed to doing everything I can to ensure the department operates to best serve Vallejo residents,” Vallejo police chief Shawny Williams said. “That includes welcoming all voices to the table when it comes to how we can improve our department.”

The agreement will last for three years, allowing the department of justice to oversee the implementation of reforms to Vallejo police policies and practices.

The city of Vallejo and the department of justice launched a website, allowing residents to stay current with the partnership.

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