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Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn reflects on upbringing as he looks toward 2022 retirement

Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn shared with ABC10 how he rose through the ranks in his decades-long career in law enforcement.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Sacramento's first Black Police Chief Daniel Hahn announced his retirement from the police department in August after four years on the job — but he says he's not going anywhere.

Before becoming chief in Sacramento, the Oak Park native rose through the ranks of the department over 34 years. He served as police chief of Roseville for six years before returning to the department so familiar to him. 

In what could be Hahn's final sit-down interview with ABC10 as police chief, the chief talked about growing up an adopted child in a farming community out in the Midwest. 

It wasn't just his immediate adoptive family, Hahn said, but the entire farming community provided the right support system he said he needed. 

"Well I will say first and foremost it's a testament that a young kid given up for adoption at birth adopted by my mom and dad who are not from here to grow up in this community where we sit today," Hahn said. "That now I'm sitting as police chief it's a testament to what can be accomplished by somebody who has the right support systems and surrounded by love.." 

"To grow up in this community where we sit today, that now I'm sitting as police chief — it's a testament of what could be accomplished if someone has the right support system," Han said.

Hahn hopes he is not the last Black police chief for the Sacramento Police Department. He hopes he inspired other young people growing up in the capital city to pursue a career in law enforcement. 

"My biggest disappointment is probably how divided we remain right now," Hahn said. "But at the same time as we look across the country with all these things that have happened over the last few years, we see a mass exodus of officers from especially the larger police departments across the country. We haven't seen that in Sacramento. 

Stevante Clark, the brother of Stephon Clark who was fatally shot by Sacramento police in his grandmother's backyard, was critical of Hahn when he made his retirement announcement. 

"At the end of the day he has not done enough," Clark said. "He has done a half-ass job. All skin folk ain't kinfolk. Justice looks like the people who took my brother's life being held accountable to the highest extent of the law." 

Hahn responded to Clark's remarks describing them as divisive. 

"I've heard countless times that 'all skin folk ain't kinfolk," Hahn said. "I've been called a coon, I've been called an Uncle Tom. I've had people put memes of monkeys on social media that are supposed to be me. What is that going to accomplish?"

Hahn said the lowest points for his career as the Sacramento Police Department's police chief were the killing of officers Tara O'Sullivan and Natalie Corona.  

“When we lost Tara, and quite frankly when we lost Natalie also even though she was in Davis. She went through our academy,” Hahn said. “Those are two of the lowest times, but also two of the most inspiring times by seeing how these two families dealt with this and continue to give back to our officers and our department.”

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