Public Safety Research and Outreach
The trust between law enforcement and the people they serve and protect is paramount in ensuring the health, safety and quality of life in communities. There has been a long history of distrust and fear of law enforcement from communities of color and other marginalized groups, and events over the last several decades have brought these concerns to the forefront of our society. The death of George Floyd in May 2020 at the hands of Minneapolis police officers, as well as other deaths at the hands of law enforcement have led to nationwide protests and demonstrations, calls for reforms, and new approaches to law enforcement across the country. The shootings of Sandra Harmon in May 2020 and previously Yanira Serrano in 2014 by San Mateo County Sheriff Deputies brought these issues front and center in Half Moon Bay, where the Sheriff's Office serves as the City’s contracted law enforcement provider.
On June 16, 2020, the City Council held a study session to hear from the community and discuss law enforcement policies. At the conclusion of the study session, the Council directed staff to conduct outreach to gather feedback and input from the community. The Council also created a Public Safety Subcommittee to discuss issues around the City’s current contract with the Sheriff, law enforcement in general, and identify recommendations for reforms to be proposed in Half Moon Bay.
Below are links to research, reports, and other resources related to the City's ongoing efforts around this important issue. We will continue to update this page as new information becomes available.
On March 16, 2022, the City, along with El Centro de Libertad and over 100 community members, public safety officials, and elected officials, launched the kickoff of the Crisis Assistance Response & Evaluation Services (CARES) Pilot Program.
This groundbreaking program now offers an alternative response to mental health-related 911 calls traditionally answered by law enforcement, fire, or ambulance. 911 dispatch operators will now have the option to deploy the CARES mobile crisis unit made up of a certified emergency medication technician and behavioral health clinician trained in de-escalation and suicide prevention. For more information on the CARES program, please visit www.hmbcity.com/cares.
At their July 14, 2021 meeting, the City Council directed staff to, "Conduct a culturally competent survey to ascertain how the community feels about public safety in Half Moon Bay. Pay particular attention to the mitigation of and correction of bias and ensuring that underrepresented voices are proportionally included." Staff worked with a research firm to develop the survey questions, which were discussed and refined at the Public Safety Subcommittee meeting on December 1, 2021. The survey was conducted with 300 Half Moon Bay residents in early February, with the draft results presented at the March 1, 2022 City Council meeting. The finalized report is available here.
Grand Jury Report - Building Greater Trust Between the Community & Law Enforcement Via the Racial and Identity Profiling Act
On July 27, 2021, the San Mateo County Civil Grand Jury released a report to the City closely related to deliverable four of the Public Safety Work Plan on AB 953. The report, “Building Greater Trust Between the Community & Law Enforcement Via the Racial and Identity Profiling Act”, includes research and recommendations for all 17 of the County’s law enforcement agencies. The City Council discussed the findings and the City’s response at its October 5, 2021 meeting which can be found here. For more information on AB 953: The Racial and Identity Profiling Act of 2015, please visit the California State Attorney General's Office website.
Public Safety Subcommittee Meeting - September 15, 2021
The City Council Subcommittee on Public Safety, which consists of Vice-Mayor Ruddock and Councilmember Jimenez, met on Wednesday September 15, at 5:00 pm. Please find the agenda for the meeting here: https://www.half-moon-bay.ca.us/DocumentCenter/View/4164/PublicSafetySubcommitteeAgenda_091521?bidId=.
Public Safety Recommendations and Deliverables
On July 14, 2021, the City Council held a special meeting focused completely on policing. At the meeting, the Council received presentations from the Stanford University Criminal Justice Center (authors of a report entitled “Safety Beyond Policing: Promoting Care over Criminalization”, published in April 2021 and a representative from the White Bird Clinic (the organization that runs the CAHOOTS program in Eugene, Oregon). Staff provided updates on the implementation of the Yanira Serrano Presente! Program, research on hybrid organizational structures for managing public safety requested at a previous Council meeting, and a recommended work-plan for City efforts around public safety and policing. Information from the meeting can be found below, including the finalized list of recommendations and deliverables.
- Click here for "Safety Beyond Policing: Promoting Care Over Criminalization", prepared by the Stanford Law School, Stanford Center for Racial Justice, and Stanford Criminal Justice Center - April 2021
- Click here for the White Bird Clinic's CAHOOTS website
- Click here for the City's Public Safety Recommendations and Deliverables approved by the City Council on July 14, 2021
Public Safety Focus Groups - FY 2020-21
Beginning in late summer 2020, staff initiated community feedback efforts through a series of focus group meetings with groups identified as vulnerable, underrepresented, or having expertise in specific topic areas. These groups included Latinx community members and leaders, homeless community members and service providers, non-profits, youth, faith leaders, and mental health professionals. The City is planning a listening session and other public meetings in the coming months to continue these community discussions.
- Click here for the Focus Groups Summary, which provides an overview of those meetings and a summary of the feedback received.
The Jimenez-Rarback Report on Policing and Public Safety In Half Moon Bay
At the June 15, 2021 City Council meeting, Councilmembers Joaquin Jimenez and Harvey Rarback presented a report, "with the intent to engage the public of Half Moon Bay with the aim of creating needed and critical policy changes in policing and public safety."
- Click here for The Jimenez-Rarback Report on Policing and Public Safety In Half Moon Bay - May 28, 2021
Yanira Serrano Presente! Program
At the June 16, 2020 City Council meeting, the Half Moon Bay Latino Council officially presented the Yanira Serrano Presente! Program to the City Council. The program was designed to increase transparency and trust between law enforcement and the community, reduce the fear and apprehension many community members face in their interactions with law enforcement, and provide programs and solutions to help prevent future tragedies, similar to the deaths of Yanira Serrano and countless others at the hands of law enforcement.
- Click here for the Yanira Serrano Presente! Program summary provided by the Latino Advisory Council to the City Council of Half Moon Bay on June 16, 2020.
- Click here for the May 4, 2021 City Council staff report officially adopting the Yanira Serrano Presente! Program and spelling out the City's implementation plan.
- Click here to access the City's Law Enforcement Feedback phone line and webform, established as part of the Yanira Serrano Presente! Program.
- Safety Beyond Policing: Promoting Care Over Criminalization prepared by the Stanford Law School, Stanford Center for Racial Justice, and Stanford Criminal Justice Center - April 2021