Public Safety

Overview

Public Safety

Article Local Works By Alexander Hamilton

For a decade, the Oxnard Fire Department focused on improving mental health. Now, it’s helping others

A firefighter’s job is no longer about putting the wet stuff on the red stuff. The demands of the modern fire service can often have a negative impact on firefighters’ mental health. Peer support teams like the one in Oxnard are one way that cities can provide firefighters with the tools needed to bounce back from traumatic events.  

Article Features By Marty Neideffer and Hilary Bass

Five ways Community Capitals Policing reimagines public safety

In recent years, calls for police reform have mounted alongside calls to reduce the rise in crime. By understanding and addressing the root causes of crime, cities can address both concerns and create communities where everyone can feel safe and succeed. This requires a radical reshaping of how we understand public safety.

Article Legal Notes By T. Peter Pierce and Natalie C. Kalbakian

How the U.S. Supreme Court’s concealed firearm license ruling affects local governments

Over the summer, the U.S. Supreme Court dramatically reshaped the nation’s firearms laws. This change has far-reaching implications for state and local regulations — including California’s “good cause” requirement for concealed firearms licenses.

Article Features By Ed Fleming

How communities can enhance their viral wildfire immunity

In many ways, wildfires spread just like viruses, but faster. So, what can epidemiology teach us about making our communities safer against wildfires? It is a question worth investigating given our current fire conditions.

Article California Cities Helen Putnam Award for Excellence By Michael Webb

Redondo Beach’s outdoor court helps reduce homelessness by 44%

Like many communities, Redondo Beach saw an increase in homelessness in the years leading up to the pandemic. Thanks to a new program that brings supportive services to residents and dismisses nonviolent misdemeanors, the number of people experiencing homeless has fallen far below pre-pandemic levels.

Article Executive Director's Message By League of California Cities Executive Director and CEO Carolyn Coleman

Feeling safe and connected is the key to thriving communities

Everyone wants to feel safe where they live. And that feeling of safety is the foundation for creating thriving communities where residents, business leaders, and visitors alike feel a strong sense of belonging and connectedness.

Article Local Works By Jeff Kraus

San Bernardino is breaking cycles of violence with community partnerships and flexible funding

As is the case in many cities, gang connections go back decades in San Bernardino, spanning generations of family members. To disrupt the cycle, the city partnered with community-based organizations to create a program that aims to prevent gang gun violence and de-escalate tensions through personal interactions with gang members and at-risk youth in ways that law enforcement cannot.

Article California Cities Helen Putnam Award for Excellence By Robert Simmons

How Irvine evacuated more than 100,000 residents during a major wildfire

Driven by unparalleled wind conditions, the 2017-19 wildfires — Tubbs, Thomas, Woolsey, Camp, Kincade, Tick, and in Orange County, Canyon II and Holy Fire — underscored the significant challenges facing police and fire agencies in these at-risk areas and the urgent need for enhanced planning measures.

Article Features By Elisa Arcidiacono

The state passed major police reform bills in 2021: what the new laws mean for cities

Police reform has been a top legislative priority for progressive lawmakers in California for years, and while there have been some significant criminal justice measures signed into law in the past decade, many more bills never made it to the governor’s desk. This year was different.

House on fire
Article Executive Director's Message By League of California Cities Executive Director and CEO Carolyn Coleman

How Cal Cities is helping city officials prepare for the next big wildfire

Every day, cities deliver an array of public safety services to protect the residents and businesses within their communities. Recent events across the nation have sparked conversations around reimagining those services, particularly in the area of local policing.  However, in many cities in California, local leaders are also reimagining how to deliver public safety services when a wildfire strikes.

Man flying drone
Article Local Works Features By Don Redmond

Chula Vista’s high-flying first responder reduces costs and response times, improves de-escalation tactics, and saves lives

In the wake of tragedies throughout the nation involving police officers, communities are asking for police reform and better de-escalation tools and training. The Chula Vista Police Department, serving a population of 270,000 in San Diego County, responded in part by developing an innovative drone program that can respond to emergencies and provide officers with the information needed to de-escalate situations.

Police car
Article Features By Deanne Machado

The perfect storm: policing in the era of decriminalization and unfunded budget pressures

In a decade, how might city leaders recall this period of policing in California? Will it be remembered as a period of great reform or one of great posturing? The evidence appears to support the former, as criminal justice reform in the domains of drug decriminalization and property crime have significantly affected the role and expectations of California law enforcement agencies.

Article Features by Rich Garbarino

South San Francisco Develops Equity Solutions Tailored to the Community

As elected officials, we have the responsibility to work toward the goals of equality and justice for all in the services we provide to our diverse residents. It’s imperative that we commit to addressing systemic racial bias wherever and whenever we encounter it and provide greater access, transparency, and oversight to build strong trust within our communities.

Article Local Works by Adam M. Lara

Long Beach Launches Office of Equity to Engage, Educate, and Serve

Long Beach established its Office of Equity in January 2017 to address and improve equity, community health, and safety for those most underserved in its communities.

Article Features by Rita Soler Ossolinski

Advancing Racial Equity in Local Government

The National League of Cities created the Race, Equity, And Leadership (REAL) initiative to strengthen local leaders’ knowledge and capacity to eliminate racial disparities, heal racial divisions, and build more equitable communities. REAL offers tools and resources designed to help local elected leaders create cities where people from all racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds thrive.

Article President’s Message by Cheryl Viegas Walker

Hope Is Not a Strategy, but It Is a Requirement for Leadership

It’s helpful to remember that leadership isn’t always about remaining stoic and displaying optimism. Allowing yourself to be vulnerable is both human and acceptable, especially in relentlessly difficult circumstances.

Article Local Works by Heather Cousin

Libraries Respond in Crisis and Beyond

Library staff throughout California put on masks and gloves and transformed their work with new processes and procedures and with safety and community service as their top priorities.

Article President’s Message by John F. Dunbar

An Unconventional Year

In circumstances as transformative as a global pandemic and a groundswell of civil unrest, effective leadership requires the ability to adapt.

Article Features by Damien R. Arrula and Aaron France

Regional Partnership: How to Address Homelessness Differently

Twelve cities in northern Orange County collaborated to create a system of regional centers providing safe shelter and supportive services.

Article Features by Jonathan Holtzman

Using Big Data to Reduce Catastrophic Impacts of Wildfire
How Local Government Can Help Shape Solutions

The Moraga-Orinda Fire District and tech partners developed innovative software to help meet residents’ and first responders’ critical needs.