In the wake of relatively recent scandals, Rohnert Park officials are unanimously agreeing to reforms to its department of public safety...changes urged by the county's civil grand jury.
Rohnert Park council members and administrators repeatedly pointed to actions and staffing changes already taken...and how reform efforts have become more collaborative and less acrimonious. Mayor Jackie Elward cited recent moves.
"Our public safety have been willing to work hand by hand and giving the ear to this council. I am thankful that the first project that we did, for mental health, took seven months from the time it came to the dais (and was) completed. It was the fastest one a government could do, especially with law enforcement."
Most of the grand jury's recommendations concern good governance such as performing annual reviews of the public safety director, establishing forums for the community and a method to communicate directly with rank and file officers, rather than through the chief.
While council members seemed eager to turn the page, questioning why the grand jury's report referred to incidents eight years ago, several locals were skeptical, saying change has been slow and results just window-dressing.
Marni Wroth says her son's life was taken during a 2017 'welfare check.'
"Tomorrow is the fifth anniversary of the killing of Branch Wroth by five cops employed by Rohnert Park police. At our first settlement conference, we demanded only one dollar if you, Tim (Mattos Chief of DPS), would change policies and create better behavior by your officers, especially when someone is having a mental health crisis. You convinced the public, and the city council that you did in fact make changes, and when asked to itemize those changes you did not respond. You changed nothing, and you know it."
This week the city council left open the possibility of adding GPS tracking to all department vehicles--another grand jury recommendation--before a deadline of December 31 of next year.