Santa Rosa Police Chief Schreeder and Sgt. Isaschsen Offer State of Department Overview to SCA Members
Retiring Santa Rosa Chief of Police Hank Schreeder, and Sergeant Tommy Isachsen who heads the SRPD gang crimes team, gave Sonoma County Alliance members on April 3, 2019 an update of the state of the department and progress in capturing wanted felons thanks to the partnership with the SCA through the countywide Take Back Our Community (TBOC) reward program for information leading to arrests.
“I want to thank the Alliance for affording me this opportunity to speak, as well as a chance to see if this uniform still fits,” said Chief Schreeder, who will step down on May 1. “People who grow up here see this as a small town, but it is actually the Bay Area’s 5th largest city with a police department numbering 260 employees who handled 265,000 calls for assistance last year alone. More than 141,000 of these calls went out to officers in the field in a 45-square mile area – this includes 24/7/365 coverage on days, nights, holidays and weekends.”
He said in 2018 Santa Rosa’s full-service police department made 8,800 arrests, engaged in 28,000 hours of training while staying within a $61 million budget. Not all of the data has been compiled as yet for 2018, however a number of statistics reflect the magnitude of police work conducted the year before.
According to Chief Schreeder, while most people just think of police field services such as traffic patrols, his department provides onsite school resources, operates special units and covered 411 vehicle thefts in 2017. That year SRPD was also involved in handling 525 burglaries; 126 robberies, 482 aggravated assault cases; 1,309 grand and petty thefts, 109 rape cases, 22 arson investigations and six homicides, all but three of these categories represent higher numbers than the year before.
In addition, that year SRPD processed 15,734 crime and incident reports, 1,859 traffic collision reports, seized 402 guns (and destroyed 130 firearms), handled 629 drug cases (while destroying 1,000 lbs. of drugs) and took $416,270.50 into evidence.
Chief Schreeder said the California State Chiefs Association legislative committee concluded that while homelessness is the #1 priority, with some 10% of all calls received related to homelessness, recruiting and staffing ranks #2.
“There are not a lot of tools available to adequately deal with homelessness. We spend a lot of time meeting with community-based organizations, the city council and various city departments in an attempt to find answers. Homelessness in not just a police concern, it affects fire departments, EMS operations and emergency rooms at area hospitals as we strive to develop long-term solutions.”
Staffing is a critical need and SRPD sets the bar very high when it comes to hiring — only 1% of applicants who come through the door are accepted — while $100,000 is invested over a year training each candidate before he or she becomes a sworn officer.
“Recruitment is our second biggest challenge statewide, compounded by prison reform, changing narcotics laws, the Public Records Act and other issues that force a realignment of our resources. We’re thankful that members of our strong Sonoma County Chief’s Association are on the same page.”
Recapping his 28 years of service with SRPD beginning in 1991, Chief Schreeder said he was promoted to sergeant in 2000, supervised the Organized Crime and Intelligence Section starting in 2001, and in 2006 became a lieutenant and the Watch Commander in the Patrol Bureau while also managing the Investigations Bureau in the Special Services Division. He was promoted to Captain in 2009. During his tenure in this position he was assigned as the Division Manager for both the Field Services Division and the Special Services Division. He also managed the Police Department’s involvement in the Federal Drug Enforcement and FBI Safe Streets Task Force. On December 21, 2013 Schreeder was promoted to Acting Chief of Police and a year later on April 27 became Chief of Police.
“After five-and-a-half years as chief, I can say this is one of the best jobs I have ever had, and the most challenging. Recently, I became engaged in succession planning while continuing to balance our budget and the needs of the community. SRPD is in the middle of any controversy and engaged in two-sided disputes. Other issues faced over the past couple of years have included independent audits and transparency issues. Concerns over the use of body-cameras has been the most complex issue. Working through the Roseland Annexation was the right thing to do.”
He said throughout his career he never saw anything as devastating as the region-wide fires that touched virtually every member of the community.
“My job would have been harder during these crises were it not for members of the police department. This group of professionals does difficult jobs every day. Our department is in a good place as we transition to new leadership. Morale is high. It’s the best of times.”
Take Back Our Community (TBOC)
Sergeant Tommy Isachsen leads SRPD’s gang crimes team. This team partners with the Sonoma County Alliance in utilizing the SCA’s TBOC program providing rewards for those providing information leading the apprehension and capture of felons. He said currently there are 15 people on the SRPD’s Most Wanted list. The following are a few cases showing how the TBOC reward program aided police in arresting perpetrators.
Darius Bunyad, with multiple felony and misdemeanor warrants for sexual battery and molesting victims under age 18, is now in custody after skipping out on trials and fleeing to Mexico. The Most Wanted poster on the SRPD’s website, and related information, was instrumental in convincing an informant to come forward with details about Bunyad. Local police south of the border found him and with the aid of federal resources he was taken into custody in Mexico and returned to the U.S. The informant received a $2,500 reward.
Paris James Stokes, wanted for felonies including violation of probation and for obstructing and resisting an executive officer, was found hiding in a Reno, Nevada apartment. There was no reward given due to an anonymous tip from someone who had signed up to receive regular Nixle
Most Wanted news releases.
Brett Blanton was identified on a Shutterbug camera store video stealing a $500 camera and fleeing the scene. He was also wanted for a number of similar crimes. A tipster recognized the perpetrator and received a $1,000 reward.
In another case, Jarrod Calvert, wanted for armed robbery in both Santa Rosa and San Francisco, was arrested in San Francisco after a person recognized him on the Most Wanted poster and gave police information as to his whereabouts. The informant received a $500 reward.
“Monitoring social media postings has also proven to be a valuable tool in finding felons who take selfie glamour shots showing them posing with fire arms and drugs. Since drug possession charges for small quantities have been reduced from felonies to misdemeanors, large quantities of control substances are coming into the area and gang members are making more money,” Sgt. Isachsen said. “There is also a rise in the illegal milling of key parts of legal firearms converting them to semi- or full automatic weapons. We continue to find creative ways to address these new concerns and apprehend offenders.”
In another case, someone came forward to report that a man was moving six pounds of crystal methamphetamine that could be cut into 10 or more smaller packages. One pound, or 454 grams, can be worth from $2,500 to $3,500 on the street. The informant received a cash award for this tip when the person was apprehended.
Founded in 2005 by SCA past president Ross Liscum and former Santa Rosa Police Chief Ed Flint, TBOC provides up to $2,500, or more, as an inducement for citizens willing to provide information for those wanted by law enforcement. This program has been successful over the years in bringing criminals to justice, with different dollar values being assigned as rewards for tips based on the types and amount of information provided.
To help support Take Back Our Community, Alliance members can check a box authorizing a $25.00 donation when renewing their annual membership.
For more information about the SRPD Gang Crimes Team, contact Sergeant Tommy Isachsen by calling 707-543-3627, or by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you suspect gang activity in your neighborhood or school or suspect your child may be involved in gang activity, please call 707-543-GANG. If it is an emergency, call 911. If you suspect gang activity is occurring elsewhere in Sonoma County, call “MAGNET” at 707-565-2511.