SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – Police Chiefs from across the Bay Area joined KRON4 for a live town hall on the changes being made following nationwide protests calling for the defunding of police departments.

Panelists included Oakland Chief Susan Manheimer, San Jose Chief Eddie Garcia, San Rafael Chief Diana Bishop, Santa Rosa Chief Ray Navarro, and Fremont Chief Kimberly Petersen.

Later in the Town Hall, we spoke to San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott.

The Town Hall began with the question of how the departments will rebuild the trust with the communities they serve following the death of George Floyd. 

Chief Garcia answered first by saying:

“One of the things that we’re trying to do to continue to build our relationships is really continue to do the work that we’ve been doing. I always like to say that I don’t like to operate in a time of crisis because crisis will hit at some point and when that hits, the only thing you can rely upon is the work that you’ve done up until that point with the community so that they know that you’re sincere with regards in how you want to move forward with your police department.”

The chiefs also discussed ‘8 Can’t Wait,’ a nationwide campaign of activists calling for immediate change to police departments. 

It includes implementing all 8 of these policies: 

  • Ban chokeholds and strangleholds
  • Require de-escalation
  • Require warning before shooting
  • Requires exhausting all alternatives before shooting
  • Duty to intervene
  • Ban shooting at moving vehicles
  • Require use of force continuum– which are guidelines on how how much force may be used in certain situations
  • Require comprehensive reporting

They also discussed how the officer screening process can be improved to prevent hiring ‘bad cops.’

Chief Peterson responded saying:

“I will say our screening processes are incredibly in-depth, at least here in Fremont. We have more than 12 steps in our hiring process and I’m not sure how anyone who has been fired from another agency frankly gets hired, for some sort of misconduct gets hired by another agency. Would I like to make it easier to fire people? Well, it is difficult I will say, it is difficult to fire people but when there is significant behavior, whether it’s racism, whether it’s sexual assault, anything along those lines, then absolutely we need to fire those people immediately. They’ve dishonored the badge and you know, we would absolutely support legislation that is being proposed right now in terms of certification to make it easier to see that upfront but you know, the in-depth backgrounds that we do, at least here at Fremont, there is no way that somebody would slip through if they had been fired from another agency for any sort of misbehavior of that sort.”

You can watch the full Town Hall above to hear more from the police chiefs.

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