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Interim Recommendation October 2014

To: Community and Local Law Enforcement Task Force Members

From: The Community Engagement and Healing Subcommittee

Subject: Interim Recommendation

Date: October 16, 2014

By motion, approve interim recommendation to the Community and Local Law Enforcement Task Force submitted by the Community Engagement and Healing Subcommittee.

Background

At the Community Engagement and Healing Subcommittee meeting of August 25, 2014, the subcommittee agreed to add to the agenda the Sheriff's decision to place Deputy Gelhaus back on patrol. This was the primary topic of the meeting where approximately 30 members of the public expressed fear and concern regarding the Sheriff's decision.

After hearing from the public and discussion among subcommittee members a motion was made and passed by a majority of the subcommittee to send the motion to the Sheriff in the form of a "Letter of Concern". The letter of concern was sent to Sheriff Freitas by Chair Judy Rice on September 9 and a response from Sheriff Freitas was received on October 8, 2014.

It was unclear as to whether the subcommittee also agreed to send the motion to the entire Task Force in the form of a recommendation and at the October 6 Community Engagement and Healing Subcommittee meeting the following motion was passed as an interim recommendation to go before the full Community and Local Law Enforcement Task Force.

Based on community feedback, concern, outrage and expressions of fear from members of the public attending Subcommittee meetings, a majority of the Community Engagement and Healing Subcommittee recommends that the Sheriff rethink and reconsider his decision to place Deputy Gelhaus back on patrol, and that in the interest of healing the community that Deputy Gelhaus be placed in another capacity.

Given the concern and sense of urgency around this issue, the Subcommittee feels strongly that this recommendation cannot wait until the full set of recommendations are presented to the Board of Supervisors.

The public that has attended the Community Engagement and Healing Subcommittee meetings on a consistent basis have repeatedly expressed their concern with the return of Deputy Gelhaus to street patrol. They have stated that healing cannot come to the community as long as the Deputy is allowed back out on the streets. The public has also expressed that there is fear among residents to call law enforcement for help; they fear that the Deputy Gelhaus may answer the call. Lack of trust and fear continue to exist particularly in the Southwest area.

Respectfully Submitted,
Community Engagement and Healing Subcommittee

Contact Information

Business Hours
Monday – Friday
8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Address
Sonoma County Administration Building
575 Administration Drive
Room 104A
Santa Rosa, CA 95403