SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – It’s a sudden shake-up in the Sacramento Police Department: Chief Sam Somers announced he’s retiring, effective December 9.
Somers opened up to reporters at city hall Tuesday evening after initially declining any interviews.
“It’s a job that is a calling, and so I’ve done this job for a long time,” Somers said.
The surprise announcement comes just days after Chief Somers spoke at a packed community meeting where Asian-Americans converged over fears they are targets of criminals. And as the city faces a lawsuit, filed by the family of Joseph Mann, alleging officers used unreasonable force when they fatally shot him.
Chief Somers would not discuss any possible outcomes from that case.
“First of all, you want to make sure you are going through the process if you start making recommendations before the process is even finished. Then it’s ready, fire, aim,” Somers said.
A new police commission report shows Sacramento officers earn nearly 20 percent less than officers in nearby agencies, and that diversity in the department does not reflect the community – although under Somers it has improved.
Commission chair Pastor Les Simmons praised Somers and called for more diversity under the next chief.
“There needs to be some incentives to say ‘hey we want to not only hire more law enforcement officers but we need to hire them right out of Sacramneto, right in South Sac, Del Paso,'” Simmons said.
Somers said he plans on spending more time with his daughters. He may also pursue opportunities in the private sector.
Somers has served 33 years in the police department, with the past three-and-a-half as chief.