SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Sacramento Police Department's newest Chief Kathy Lester was sworn in days ago, making history as the first woman to lead the Sacramento Police Department.
Chief Lester sat down with ABC10 to discuss what's on her agenda as she leads the department. The chief is even testing new technology that would allow the public to rate their experience with officers. The is to provide officers with feedback that would ultimately help them better serve the capital city.
Remarks have been edited for brevity.
Chris Thomas: You’re taking some new steps to better track positive and negative interactions with police. Tell us more about that.
Lester: So we are going to be implementing some technology that gives people the ability to provide feedback on their interaction with our officers, and to take surveys as well as be able to know what’s going on with their case. I also hope that we can give some positive feedback to our officers. I believe that officers are doing a great job every day, but we don’t really have a chance to share that with them.
Chris Thomas: The question is, you’re the first female chief. What are you doing to make sure you’re not the last?
Lester: One of the things that I’m really trying to do is increase diversity within our department. We just signed on to a cool thing called the 30 by 30 Initiative, and the goal of that initiative is to try and increase the representation of women in the department to 30% by 2030. Right now, we are about 17%, so not quite where we want to be.
Chris Thomas: Sacramento had at least 56 homicides in 2021, the most since 2006. Shootings, violent crime and deadly crashes have also increased. What do you think is behind the uptick in violence and what are your plans to tackle the issue?
Lester: “I personally think we need to drill down into areas where crime is being committed. We know that most violent crime is committed by a small number of offenders in small geographic areas. So lets focus on those offenders and address those issues. I think by partnering with community based organizations, by being transparent and open with the community, I think we can have some success. What you won’t see from us is this flood of police in neighborhoods stopping everybody trying to solve or bring down crime. I just don’t think that is the answer.”
ABC10 is told the police department has been testing the new public feedback technology for the past six months. They hope to begin using the new system in the near future. Stay with ABC10 for updates.