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A new chief is comin' to town

Updated: Jan 21, 2022

Who’s leaving?

Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn is retiring. Hahn had served as the Chief for 4 years, and he is the only Black man to have occupied the role. He did not give a reason for retiring. Hahn served as Chief in the wake of the murder of Stephon Clark, when the SPD arrested 84 folx who were demonstrating against the D.A.'s decision not to file charges against the 2 officers that murdered Stephon. The City is currently in the process of hiring a new chief - we’re bringing you this brief update to help keep you informed! You can find information about this process from the City by clicking here. Read on for SJPC’s perspective.

The City’s survey

The City of Sacramento opened a survey, which closed October 22nd, to the public that asked what people thought makes a “Great Chief of Police”. The survey is very broad, it includes the ability to pick seven characteristics you’d like to see in the next police chief, a section for comments about characteristics, and a section asking what the “biggest community challenge” will be for the next chief. Pretty vague. The main takeaway from this survey is that it is by NO MEANS an adequate form of community engagement. We expect much more in terms of involving the people of Sacramento in this hiring process.

The community demands

A letter was sent to City Manager Howard Chan by the ACLU of Northern California on October 22nd, addressing their demands for the hiring process of a new police chief, and their desire to meet with folx from Chan’s office on behalf of Sacramento community members. This was sent after the ACLU conducted two listening sessions with Sacramento community residents about what they wanted to see in a police chief. Each time the responses emphasized transparency.

These are the three reasons the ACLU lists for wanting to meet with the City Manager’s office (as pulled from their letter):

1) Share the urgency and importance of meaningful engagement of community members and city councilmembers in the recruitment and selection process for the new police chief of SPD

2) Share the community members’ vision for reimagined public safety

3) Share questions community members request be asked of all potential candidates during the interview process.

Each of these asks is elaborated on in the letter, which can be accessed by clicking this link.

Response From City Manager Staff

The city manager staff responded that they will take into account the information shared in the letter. They also mentioned even though they would like to meet, they are not able to accommodate a meeting at this time.

*City Manager Howard Chan pictured below

Further, the city manager staff mentioned the community survey that was created is for community engagement. We get the sense the City will try and say that was the “community engagement.” Because of that, it will be important to make our voices heard that the survey is not sufficient.

Despite City Council stating that City Manager Chan would provide an update on the hiring process at the Council meeting on November 16th, there was no update given. The Council does not meet again until Nov. 30th.

Our collective goals

As a community we need to demand TRANSPARENCY in this hiring process. We also need to insist that the hiring process is informed by social justice values, and that the potential candidates for this role will do their best to uphold those values in their work. Stay tuned for more updates!

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