Statement Regarding the Trial Against Two Fullerton Police Officers
The City of Fullerton understands today’s ruling by Superior Court Judge Walter Schwarm to compel a jury trial of two Fullerton police officers accused in the death of Kelly Thomas. According to Fullerton Mayor Sharon Quirk-Silva, "This has been traumatic for our entire City; however, we need to come together and let the judicial system unfold. The trial is the proper forum for the facts in this case to be presented, vetted and decided."
Regardless of the outcome, the City has begun a comprehensive process to improve the police department. To date, the City has taken extraordinary measures to evaluate every aspect of the department to improve police service, training and guidelines for the use of force.
Specifically, the Fullerton Police Department has:
- Hired an independent expert in the provision of police services to examine every aspect of the police department and provide recommendations for improvement.
- Instituted ongoing Crisis Intervention Team training which covers handling individuals with a wide range of mental illness.
Contracted with OC Mental Health Services to have a clinician ride with our officers on a regular basis.
- The City established a Homeless Task Force to make recommendations on a wide range of issues regarding the homeless.
- Added 10 hour training course on the use of force including legal, reasonable and ethical decision making.
- Created a new interfaith chaplain program to include chaplains responding to major incidents to help victims and occasionally riding in police cars with officers.
- Rewritten the Police Department policy manual and made it available to the public on the City’s website.
Since the altercation was first reported to Fullerton Police Command Staff, the department has involved the District Attorney’s office in every aspect of the investigation and has provided all evidence, witnesses and reports to the District Attorney.