The death of Mr. George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis Police Officers is shocking, disturbing, and of great concern to all of us in Law Enforcement. His death was preventable and should not have happened. It is a sobering reminder of the significant and negative impact bad police behavior has on our Community and profession. Our officers, like others across the country are feeling the burden of this incident. Our officers see this as a betrayal of their commitment to fairness and the trust we work hard to earn. We will continue to put our energy into building relationships in the community while ensuring that our policies, practices, and oversight are worthy of the community’s trust.
It is my duty, responsibility and obligation as Chief of Police to ensure such a tragedy does not occur in Cathedral City. The Minneapolis Police Officers’ actions and inactions were in direct conflict with our agency’s policies, beliefs and principles. Cathedral City Police Officers are trained and expected to treat all individuals with dignity, respect and empathy.
In 2015, I implemented a body worn camera program in Cathedral City. Five years later, all Cathedral City Police Officers wear body worn cameras that create a video record of their actions. It is mandated by policy that Officers activate their body worn cameras during contacts with members of the public. We have a supervisor assigned to every shift to ensure that there is direction, leadership, oversight and supervision. Officers in Cathedral City receive training in de-escalation, cultural diversity, dealing with mentally ill persons and use of force. All use of force incidents that occur are investigated for policy compliance and appropriateness.
Policing is a difficult job and we need our officers to be emotionally stable, empathetic, compassionate and humane. It is important for you to know that I think about all these characteristics in our hiring process. We screen for bias, racism, emotional maturity, and a service ethic during our interviews, background investigations, and psychological testing. Cathedral City is a diverse and ever-changing community and we hire officers that embrace those qualities. Racial bias has no place in our business. We train regularly to understand cultural differences, potential sources of bias, and strategies for building respectful relationships. It is a high priority to have a Police Department that is representative of our diverse community. This is always a work in progress as we strive to be fair and equitable in what we do.
The Cathedral City Police Department enjoys a good relationship with our community. We value and depend upon our community’s support and engagement with our department. These partnerships have allowed us to have meaningful dialogues with groups who have experienced difficult relationships with law enforcement in the past. I am proud of the men and women of the Cathedral City Police Department. Each day, I see firsthand the high moral standards, respect, and empathy our personnel demonstrate. We, as sworn officers, are granted the authority to protect and serve our community. We understand that we must do so with a blend of humanity, empathy, and fairness to maintain our public’s trust. It is our duty to protect all lives and property in our City.