I am grateful for the opportunity to lead this department for the next several months, and hopefully further into the future. I have been a member of this organization for over 22 years, and I value the relationships I have built during that time.
We are in a moment in law enforcement in which we need to re-think the way we police. Last year was a significant turning point for the policing profession, and in order to succeed, we must evolve. This will not come through enhanced training and policies alone, but by continuing to find ways to build trust and legitimacy through transparency, accountability, and community engagement. We as law enforcement professionals need to be open to this concept and look at this as an opportunity to improve.
We began looking at our policies and procedures and have made changes to two policies. The first policy change is prohibiting the use of no-knock warrants. The use of no-knock warrants increases risks to the people being served the warrants, as well as officers executing the warrants. While San Leandro has not utilized no-knock warrants in a long time, expressly prohibiting them is a significant step in that trust and legitimacy we aim to build.
The second policy addresses background investigations for candidates who are current or former police officers. We have updated our policy to allow our background investigators to have access to any record currently being held by an employing law enforcement agency, including incomplete investigations or sealed records. Additionally, we added language that would allow us to notify a candidate’s current agency if any criminal conduct is uncovered during the background process.
We will continue to review our policies and procedures and make appropriate changes moving forward.
On February 15th, the City Council voted to proclaim April 18th as Steven Taylor and Sanctity of Life Day. This Proclamation is part of the City’s ongoing efforts to pursue racial justice and social equity in San Leandro. As a person and a member of Law Enforcement, I am committed to ending racial disparities in policing. I believe the City Council’s action in honoring Steven Taylor on April 18th will serve as a reminder of our ongoing effort towards racial equity and inclusivity.
This City Council Proclamation in no way takes away from the hard work, dedication, and commitment the members of the San Leandro Police Department put in day in and day out to serve the City of San Leandro. Instead, this Proclamation, along with some of our initiatives, reflect our acknowledgment of the sanctity of life and the importance we are placing on listening to, valuing, and building stronger partnerships with our community.
Luis Torres, Acting Police Chief