City Beat

Sacramento police chief to update City Council on department diversity efforts

Sacramento Police Chief Sam Somers Jr. will provide details to the City Council on Tuesday night about what his department is doing to diversify the police force and train officers in community engagement. Somers was asked by Mayor Kevin Johnson in December to issue a report on how the Police Department is addressing concerns raised by some communities in the wake of fatal police incidents around the country.

Johnson asked Somers to look into cultural sensitivity training for officers and to consider ways to encourage more officers to live in the city. The mayor also endorsed the use of body cameras and asked for a pilot program to be launched that could place the devices on up to 50 officers. The Police Department is already testing body cameras on officers who volunteer.

A staff report on the agenda for Tuesday’s City Council meeting does not provide the details of Somers’ update to the council, but says the chief will provide an “in-depth overview of the multitude of strategies in place, those in progress, and future opportunities for enhancing community policing as it applies to training, diversity, accountability and community engagement.”

Call The Bee’s Ryan Lillis, (916) 321-1085. Read his City Beat blog at