Published: February 1, 2017
Community members are invited to participate in a facilitated Community Engagement Circle with Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office deputies and staff from the Independent Office of Law Enforcement Review and Outreach (IOLERO) on February 8, 2017, from 7:00p.m.-8:30p.m. at El Verano Elementary School, 18606 Riverside Drive, in the Springs area of Sonoma. Spanish translation will be provided, along with snacks and beverages.
The Engagement Circle is an opportunity for community members to share their concerns, experiences, and hopes around law enforcement and community relations. Each circle will give a small group of community members the chance to sit with a deputy who is assigned to the Sonoma Valley, and share perspectives, as well as to better understand the perspectives of deputies who work in this community. Volunteer facilitators will be present to help foster a productive and positive dialogue.
“I am hopeful that this project will help break down barriers where they exist between law enforcement and community members,” said Jerry Threet, the Director of IOLERO. “Without dialogue, it is not possible to improve understanding. The opportunity for residents and deputies to sit face-to-face can really build and strengthen community relations, so many thanks to the deputies and community members who participate.”
Chief Bret Sackett of the Sonoma Police Department added, “Sonoma Valley Deputies are looking forward to engaging with the people in the Springs in a conversational environment. Open dialogue gives everyone the chance to dispel misinformation and grow trust. It is positive for all involved.”
Through a number of recent small community meetings, IOLERO staff have heard considerable concern within the immigrant community of the Springs about the risk of immigration enforcement and fears of interacting with law enforcement. This event is a safe space to share concerns without fear of such consequences.
“I want all community members to know that they may attend and participate in this meeting without fear that they will be targeted in any way for an enforcement action,” said Threet. “I especially encourage members of the local immigrant community to come be a part of this meeting.”
The Springs event is the first in a series of Community Engagement Circles--future Circles are planned for the Moorland and Roseland neighborhoods of Santa Rosa as well as other areas of the County.