Vallejo City Council Declares Public Safety Emergency

The Vallejo City Council unanimously approved a motion Tuesday night declaring a public safety emergency in the wake of several officer shootings of people of color.

The declaration will allow the police chief and city manager to hire staff and adopt police reforms more quickly. The police department is being urged to expand community policing and independent oversight measures, while identifying more opportunities for transparency.

Vallejo spokeswoman Christina Lee said the department faces “a crisis of legitimacy and trust” amid rising crime rates and an avalanche of police misconduct allegations.

The problems at Vallejo PD have been going on for years. Vallejo and its police department were hit hard by the 2008 recession — during which the city declared bankruptcy — and the ramifications can be felt to this day. Additionally, between 2015 and 2017, the city paid more money per officer to settle civil rights lawsuits than nine other Bay Area law enforcement agencies, according to the East Bay Express.