City Manager’s Update
Brian Dossey, City Manager
The tragic homicide of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis, and cases involving other black Americans in recent history, are clear and tragic examples of racial inequities in policing across the country. These examples also illuminate the deeper systemic racial inequity and social justice problems that continue to plague American society, and are not specific to policing, such as in healthcare, education, housing, voting, and the justice system. We must all do our part personally and professionally to confront these inequities. In doing so, we must question and challenge these systems, as well as be able to answer those questions honestly and be open to new ideas for improving these systems.
As we all do this work, it is important to understand and acknowledge the facts about policing in the Town of Colma. The Colma Police Department’s Use of Force Policy, meets most of California’s AB 392 (2019), known as the California Act to Save Lives – the most stringent use of force law in the nation. With that said, we realize there is always room for improvement, and the Colma Police Department along with the City Council and Public will review the “8cantwait” policies that can lead to a decrease in Police Violence. I encourage you to go to the Town’s website and review the June 8 news article on how the Colma Police Department aligns with the “8cantwait” proposed policies reforming police use of force. https://www.colma.ca.gov/colma-pds-8-cant-wait-policies/. This article is intended to provide some general information to help the community understand policing in Colma, as compared to what system improvements may or may not be appropriate throughout the region, state, or nation-wide.
In July, the Colma City Council will hold a public meeting (virtual via Zoom due to the health orders), to hear input from the community about policing in Colma. I encourage you to review the information provided on the website and participate in the public meeting.
On the Coronavirus front, on June 17, the County released a new Shelter in Place Order aligning San Mateo County with the State in terms of permitted activities. The good news is businesses like hair salons, barber shops, gyms, museums, fitness centers, restaurants, hotels for travel, and cardrooms can now open. With that said, it is now up to us to sop the spread of the Coronavirus. Please wear your mask, practice social distancing, wash your hands and be kind to one another.
Lastly, I would like to congratulate Police Chief Kirk Stratton on his retirement from the Colma Police Department after twenty-seven years with the Town of Colma. Chief Stratton epitomizes professionalism and integrity, and through his leadership, is leaving the Colma Police Department in a great position to start a new chapter. I truly enjoyed working with Chief Stratton. He was committed to protecting the residential and business community as well as the men and women that served in the Colma Police Department. I wish him well in his future endeavors.
Chief’s Farewell Message
Kirk Stratton, Chief of Police
I learned from prior Colma Police Chiefs and my father that being a leader is less about me and more about the community and those who serve under my command. As I approach the last days of my 27 years with the Town of Colma, I want to take a moment to express my sincere gratitude to those who made my career enjoyable and fulfilling. I have seen many positive changes throughout the years that would not have been possible had it not been for the commitment of other department heads, their staff and city leaders. Your enthusiasm and desire to serve is evident and are contributing factors for the Town’s successes. Because of your perseverance, the Town of Colma will continue to thrive.
I cannot say enough about the men and women of the Colma Police Department. From line-level staff to support staff, your commitment to serve the Colma community is apparent every day, and I am confident you will continue moving our mission forward. Without your contributions, the Colma Police Department would not be the highly trained and skilled organization that it is today.
Colma officers are professional, passionate, always maintaining a sense of duty, dignity, and discipline, and always doing the right thing. The job of a police officer can be stressful at times and if you ask anyone who has donned the police uniform, they will tell you it is also very rewarding. Protecting those who cannot protect themselves, arresting someone who has victimized an innocent person and providing services to those in need is gratifying.
I have enjoyed serving the Town of Colma and the community during my career, and as your Chief of Police for the past six years. The support from the community and other professional organizations has been invaluable. I am proud of the many accomplishments and work our staff has achieved to keep the community safe, and I hope I have provided the Colma Police Department with the highest level of integrity and professionalism.