The following is a statement from the Police Chiefs’ Association of Orange County and the Sheriffs Association released on June 26, 2020.
The Orange County Chiefs of Police and Sheriffs Association represents the interests of law enforcement across our County. We are deeply committed to serving our diverse and dynamic community with integrity, professionalism, and compassion. We understand how the unjust actions of even a single officer in any jurisdiction can impact the public’s trust in law enforcement as a profession.
California, and more specifically Orange County, leads the nation as a model for 21st Century Policing. We have a rich history of prioritizing community engagement, building partnerships and engaging with our private and faith-based community leaders in our approach to serving Orange County’s three million residents. Many of us host Community Police Academies, coordinate Community Emergency Response Teams, participate on interfaith councils, set up police-private security partnerships, and create programs for youth and school safety.
Our Orange County community-oriented policing philosophy is the cornerstone of our success. During this pivotal time in our nation’s history, it is more important than ever to strengthen our existing partnerships, cultivate new relationships, and affirm our commitment to building meaningful and trusting relationships with our youth. It is also critical we are positioned to recruit, hire and train service-minded peace officers with strong moral character that reflect our diverse community.
Central to our discussion should be the issue of public trust. To that end, many of us have recently shared our departments’ use of force policies with our respective communities. We are committed to procedures that are not only in accordance with the law but also instill confidence in the public and promote transparency. The sanctity of human life is paramount. Every person has a right to be free from excessive use of force, and deadly force may only be used when necessary in defense of human life.
Our Association has a long history of working together to adopt standardized protocols, providing for greater consistency, while sharing resources to enhance service to all Orange County residents.
We mandate intervention and reporting on the part of all law enforcement officers who witness excessive force or other misconduct. De-escalation has served as the foundation of our continual training for many years. Unlike many states, California mandates training in the areas of racial and cultural diversity, crisis intervention, and interpersonal communications. Typically, law enforcement agencies in Orange County exceed the minimum standard each year, dedicating a substantial portion of our budgets to providing our law enforcement professionals with additional training in related areas, such as procedural justice and implicit bias.
The overwhelming majority of law enforcement officers strive to do what is right and just each and every day. Of course, in every profession, there is always room for growth and improvement. While we are proud of our accomplishments and the inroads we have made in our respective communities, we will not rest. Learning and improvement must be continual. Now is the time for empathic listening and collaboration with our community and lawmakers as we move towards positive change that promotes mutual trust, public confidence and community safety.
For another important message from Orange County Chiefs’ of Police and Sheriff’s Association, please see video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DHWUtZj7mk8.