Op-ed: Contra Costa County Sheriff Livingston on relationship with North Richmond
on September 27, 2013
Contra Costa County Sheriff David O. Livingston sent a letter to Richmond Confidential in response to an article we ran earlier this month, “North Richmond not receiving the benefits of Ceasefire,” by reporter Joaquin Palomino. Below is the Sheriff’s response.
I write in response to a recent Richmond Confidential article – “North Richmond not receiving the benefits of Ceasefire.”
The community of North Richmond is a priority for the Office of the Sheriff. The article ignores and discredits the ongoing hard work and commitment of my staff and that of the residents of this unincorporated community. The Sheriff’s Office works hard to engage the community in developing a partnership, which focuses on finding long-term solutions to quality of life issues.
Currently there are four Resident Deputy Sheriffs who are exclusively assigned to North Richmond. For its size and population, North Richmond has more deputies than any other unincorporated area in Contra Costa County. In fact, in the past year alone, crime categories such as assault with a deadly weapon and residential burglary are down. There have been no homicides this year. While it would be disingenuous to take credit for decreases in crime, I believe part of this success is credited to proactive community policing and the partnerships we developed.
The Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff participates in the Ceasefire anti-violence effort. Thus far, our participation has included having our patrol staff attend various Ceasefire meetings and interventions working in collaboration with the Richmond Police Department, the District Attorney’s Office, the Richmond Office of Neighborhood Safety, community leaders and clergy.
Our involvement and commitment to North Richmond goes beyond pro-active crime fighting. My staff, working in collaboration with community leaders and various government agencies, also address quality of life issues, such as illegal dumping, which contributes to community blight. We don’t seek attention for our efforts or issue a press release after every community success; however, much is done behind the scenes. For example, in the past, Deputy Sheriffs organized and hosted numerous community events, such as a youth summer program, friendly football and softball games between Sheriff’s Office staff and residents, children’s trips to amusement parks and baseball games. Likewise, deputies, on their own time and often at their own expense, deliver Christmas gifts to children and families in need. For over 20 years, the children of North Richmond were the beneficiaries of our annual holiday toy drive and refurbished bicycle giveaway at the Marsh Creek Sheriff’s facility.
My staff is accountable to the residents of North Richmond and I place a high priority on service and responsiveness. Each month, Bay Station Commander, Lieutenant Jon Moreland reports to the Municipal Advisory Council on crime activity and Sheriff’s Office response. I believe the residents of North Richmond benefit from our partnership and community policing efforts and will continue to benefit in the future.
Identifying best practices to further enhance public safety is an on-going process; however, residents can be assured that the Office of the Sheriff is committed to the community and that North Richmond will always be a priority for the Office of the Sheriff.
David O. Livingston, Sheriff – Coroner, Contra Costa County
Richmond Confidential welcomes feedback on its coverage. Sheriff Livingston’s opinion piece adds valuable insights into his department’s policies in regards to police-community relations in North Richmond.
The Sheriff says the article by reporter Joaquin Palomino “ignores and discredits the on-going hard work” of his department. The article in question quotes residents critical of the Sheriff’s Department. The article also quotes a spokesman from the Sheriff’s Department defending its policies and practices.
We stand by the article. And Richmond Confidential will continue to report fairly and accurately on further developments in the relationship between the Sheriff’s Department and North Richmond.
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