San Mateo police Chief Ed Barberini called the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis a “senseless tragedy” and “another reminder of how much work we must do to promote a society where everyone is afforded equitable treatment and protections under the law.”
On Tuesday at 5 p.m., the police chief is set to host a Zoom town hall panel discussion about the deadly police encounter that has prompted protests and riots across the nation.
San Mateo police officers are “angry, disappointed and frustrated when our noble profession is compromised by the actions of one,” Chief Barberini said.
“This is a huge step back for us as a profession and compromises the trust we work so hard to build,” said Officer Rory McMilton, president of the San Mateo Police Officers’ Association. “We’re better than this and no one despises the bad cops more than the good cops.”
Chief Barberini touted his department’s ongoing investments in crisis intervention techniques, advanced de-escalation communication tactics and body-worn cameras. The department embraced California’s Act to Save Lives (AB392), legislation passed last year with the aim of reducing incidents of police use of deadly force.
“Our officers undergo continual training throughout their career with our city,” the chief said. “They have been trained to recognize the differences between racial bias and signs of criminal or suspicious activity.”
Tuesday’s town hall aims to discuss the status of local policing given current events and invites community input on how local officers can “better provide the safety and quality of life expected within the city of San Mateo.”
“We must respond to criminal actions with justice, show compassion for those who need guidance, and meet opposition with empathy,” Chief Barberini said. “Together, let’s move towards a more equitable and just future.”
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