I felt compelled to write this statement after just watching the recently released video footage of the death of Memphis, Tennessee resident Tyre Nichols at the hands of five Memphis police officers. I do not usually comment on other law enforcement agencies, however this death has provoked a lot of national and local interest and I feel compelled to release this statement to my communities.
First and foremost, I was disgusted and appalled by what I just viewed. I, with all of you, cannot believe what I just viewed and the complete lack of humanity that was portrayed.
There is no place in civilized society for this level of uncontrolled violence at the hands of anyone, let alone police officers who swear to protect and serve their communities. It is encouraging that the officers were swiftly terminated and charged yesterday for Mr. Nichols death. No one is above the law or the justice system and these acts certainly justify the former officers arrest and booking into jail.
Some of the media is claiming this horrific act shows the need for more police training. While I do agree that more and better police training is always needed, this act really shows me the importance of proper hiring and background checks. While I do not know all of the facts or the backgrounds of the involved officers, I am not sure any level of training would have prevented the involved officers from committing the acts they did. It does appear that anyone who could commit these acts should have ever been hired in the first place and been allowed to serve the Memphis community.
We at the Central Marin Police take, hiring, backgrounds, and training very seriously. I personally interview and hire each of our officers to ensure they are a good fit for our communities and most importantly possess the highest level of ethics and judgement.
We then use outside consultants to conduct very thorough backgrounds of every employee we hire. These backgrounds include in-depth reviews of their entire life, including professional psychological reports.
We are also very dedicated to all levels of training which includes verbal de-escalation, peer intervention, and use of force techniques. We always train to use the minimum use of force necessary to effect an arrest. We are also in the early stages of training and implementing ABLE (Active Bystandership for Law Enforcement) at our agency. This is ongoing training that teaches officers effective ways to step in when they witness physical or verbal misconduct and help agencies improve on their culture that supports intervention.
I ask all of our community members at this time to reflect on Tyre Nichol’s tragic death and to join me in condemning the five former Memphis Police officers for their actions. I also ask everyone to remember the forty-two dedicated and hardworking police officers of the Central Marin Police are not members of the Memphis Police Department and do not share their backgrounds and training practices. Your Central Marin Police officers work tirelessly to keep all of you and the communities safe. More importantly, they do so while respecting everyone’s rights and personal well-being.
Thank you for your time.
Michael A. Norton
Chief of Police
California Assembly Bill 481 requires all law enforcement agencies to obtain approval of the applicable governing body (the Central Marin Police Authority Police Council) by adopting a military equipment use policy for the funding, acquisition, or use of military equipment as defined by the Legislature.
AB 481 requires each law enforcement agency's governing body to adopt a written military equipment policy by ordinance in a public forum. The Police Council will be discussing AB 481 at their next meeting on May 12, 2022 at 6:00 p.m. and members of the public are invited to participate in the process. To help guide this process we are providing a link to the full text of AB 481 here, as well as the following required materials:
NOTE: CMPA has not obtained, nor does it utilize, any equipment procured from the United States Department of Defense through the Law Enforcement Support Program ( also known as the 1028 or 1033 Program).
We are committed to providing high quality and responsive service to our communities and always look for new ways to serve you effectively and efficiently. Chief Norton is pleased to announce that our new online reporting system is now available. This system offers you the ability to report certain types of crimes easily and at your own convenience. As always, if you prefer to have an officer respond, or to make a report at one of our stations, please call us at 415-927-5150.
Use this link to learn more about the online reporting system or to file a report:
Nixle is a community notification system that enables public service agencies to provide alerts and messages quickly and securely to users who subscribe to the system. Each user chooses how they want to receive information – by email. Subscribers may select one or more areas by zip code and stay connected to important information. Subscribing to Nixle is free however text notifications are subject to standard message rates.
Go to www.nixle.com to register to receive emails and text messages. Once registered you can set your preferences and select what type of information you want to receive and how. To sign up for text messages only, text your zip code to 888777.
How CMPA uses Nixle message types:
In the past CMPA has used Nixle texts and emails to send out all types of information, regardless of its importance and priority. Going forward, we plan on only sending out Nixle texts when we need to issue an Alert or Advisory. All other information will be sent out as an email under Community. This will help ensure that when a community member receives a future text from CMPA it will receive the attention it deserves.
Emergency or critically important information where loss of life and/or property is potentially imminent.
Examples: Evacuation instructions, Wildfire, Flooding, Gas leak
Sent by text message and email.
Less urgent but important need-to-know information. Less time critical than an Alert.
Examples: Urgent police activity, Severe weather advisory
Sent by text message and email.
Non-priority information from CMPA.
Examples: Road closures/maintenance, news releases, event information, and news about other activities.
Community Posting will generally be done Monday through Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. only.
Sent by email only.
Alert Marin is Marin County’s Telephone Emergency Notification System. This is a regional resource that is operated by Marin County Office of Emergency Services (OES). Emergency officials use this system to deliver rapid incident-specific information or potentially life-saving instructions to precise geographic areas. For example: flooding or wildfire and evacuation instructions, or public safety crime incidents immediately affecting your neighborhood. Listed, unlisted, and blocked landline numbers provided by AT&T and Verizon are already in the emergency notification system. Cell phone and VoIP (voice over internet protocol) numbers are not, so you need to register your cell or VoIP phone in order to receive alerts. Alerts can be received by call, text, email, or smartphone application. Anyone who lives, works, or goes to school in Marin County (age 18 and over) can go to the Self-Registration Portal at www.alertmarin.org Alert Marin service is free, but text notifications may be subject to messaging charges.
Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) are short (90 character or less) messages that can be broadcast to any WEA enabled cell phone or mobile device in a locally targeted area. These alerts may only be sent by local law enforcement agencies when there is an imminent threat of death or for an Amber Alert. The alerts are broadcast from all cellular towers in a targeted area, to all WEA enabled mobile devises that are communicating with those cell towers. CMPA recommends enabling the Emergency ALERTS function on your cell phone to ensure you receive these alerts in an emergency.
In November 2017, the Federal Communication Commission ordered cellphone companies to increase emergency messages from 90 to 360 characters.
If the evacuation of a structure or neighborhood is necessary during an emergency, CMPA Officers and Firefighters may make personal contact with every resident if time permits. In addition, law enforcement and fire may drive through neighborhoods and use their sirens and loud speakers to give alerts and direction.
The Central Marin Police Authority currently uses the social media platforms Nextdoor, Twitter, and Facebook to disseminate information to our communities. We use these platforms to share emergency and non-emergency information. It is very important to note that we do not rely on these platforms alone to convey urgent emergency alerts for our communities.
In the event of an emergency we may use these platforms to share additional information about an incident, after the appropriate warning is broadcasted through one of the preferred methods above. Often misinformation from well-meaning citizens is shared on social media platforms. Community members should only trust official information shared by your government agencies during an emergency.