Community engagement is at the heart of our Petaluma Policing Mission. Our agency understands that building inclusive, strong relationships with all local businesses, academic institutions, places of worship, philanthropic organizations, social service providers, first-responder agencies and most importantly, our neighborhoods, are the key to fortifying public trust and police legitimacy. We value our local partnerships which ensure that diversity, equity, and inclusion are incorporated into the services we provide. Maintaining the utmost professionalism and reflecting industry best practices, our staff engages in educational outreach and volunteer opportunities whenever and wherever possible. As such, the Petaluma Police Department invests in free safety programs and community-centered events to decrease crime, bring awareness, and increase the quality of life for all community members in which we serve.
For more information about our complimentary safety programs, please contact
Community Engagement Liaison
Petaluma Police Department
The Community Academy is a 10-week course that provides community members with a transparent and comprehensive understanding of their local law enforcement agency. It covers a wide range of topics related to policies, penal codes, code enforcement, training and our policing philosophy. All members of the department, including the Chief of Police, command staff, sworn police officers and civilian personnel give hour -long presentations on their specific area of expertise. The class meets once a week at the Police Department from 6 to 9 pm, as well as a Saturday class at the regional police academy in Windsor to experience law enforcement simulators and training equipment. The Community Academy is offered bi-annually and in Spanish.
Every 15 Minutes
The Every Fifteen Minutes distracted driving program has now been expanded to include the dangers of prescribed medications, illicit drugs, over-the-counter medications or marijuana – medical or recreational – and cell phone use during or around vehicle operation. Grant funded, the Every Fifteen Minutes program is rotated between all local charter, public and private high schools annually. Collaborating with the Petaluma Fire Department, California Highway Patrol, Law Enforcement Chaplaincy Program, Petaluma Police Volunteers, Coast Guard, Adobe Creek Funeral Home and school staff, this two day distracted driving educational outreach simulates a real vehicle fatality to educate students of the severity of driving under the influence.
The Petaluma Police Department, in conjunction with the California Highway Patrol, offers an annual car seat inspection day for the public. To ensure qualifying low-income families have the child safety equipment necessary, new certified convertible car seats are provided, first come first serve, to participants at these educational outreach events. Financial support to supply the public with certified car seats is procured through private donations and grants received, such as the Speedway Children’s Charity Foundation.
Scam & Identity Theft
Since 2015, the PPD volunteer program has provided more than 75 "Scam, Fraud, and Identity Theft" presentations addressing current Internet, phone and mail scams. Petaluma PD teams give safety tips, highlighting federal, state, and local resources and provide handouts to assist with prevention. These events have been held at the public library, Petaluma Community Center, Pep Housing, Senior Center, Village Network, local active senior living residences and philanthropic organizations such as the Rotary, Kiwanis and Elk’s Clubs.
For Safety resources related to Identity Theft, Scam or Fraud please visit:https://cityofpetaluma.org/identity-theft/
As a member of the Sonoma County Human Trafficking Task Force (SCHTTF), the Petaluma PD staff work alongside other not-for-profit and law-enforcement agencies to educate the public on Human Trafficking Awareness, prevention, and the local resources that are available. An important aspect of this outreach is dedicated to quarterly community presentations, movie showings and panel discussions to problem-solve needed changes in public policy, human trafficking curricula in schools and the accessibility of direct services for victims and their families. Human Trafficking Awareness outreach occurs at a variety of venues to increase the safety of our community. Spanish speaking translation headsets are available at presentations and Spanish speaking advocates serve on the panel of experts to field questions and concerns.
The Petaluma PD volunteer program gives high school students from Saint Vincent de Paul, Petaluma High School and Casa Grande High School the opportunity to complete their 40-hour senior service project requirements through community outreach on this topic. Human Trafficking senior projects have included public service announcements that were posted on academic and law enforcement agency sites and community presentations with a panel of experts on school campuses.
In 2016, the Petaluma Police Department collaborated with Mentor Me to create a school-wide Restorative Justice program that provides all local public, private and charter school campuses with positive alternative discipline action, in lieu of expulsion and/or incarceration. PPD School Resource Officers and school staff identify students and are given an opportunity to participate in the Restorative Justice programs as long as they complete the requirements deemed by their contract. Students from Saint Vincent de Paul, Petaluma High School and Casa Grande High School also have an opportunity to complete their 40-hour senior service project requirements through our Petaluma PD volunteers program. Restorative Justice senior projects have included public service announcements that were posted on academic and law enforcement agency sites and community presentations with a panel of experts.
Teen and Transitional Mental Health Outreach
Calls for service related to Mental Health issues in Sonoma County are on the rise. Unfortunately, we see a heartbreaking increase in teen and transitional-youth mental-health-crisis situations. In an effort to provide important resources to those in need, the PPD staff and volunteer program collaborates with direct-services providers such as Buckelew Programs, Petaluma Health Care District-CHIPA, Petaluma Peer Recovery Center, St. Joseph’s Health, Sonoma County Behavioral Health -Mobile Support Team (MST), Petaluma Health Care Center, Petaluma City School District, Mentor Me, Petaluma People Services Center and COTS. Mental health presentations are provided at public venues such as the Library and Community Center. Outside of our collaboration with behavioral health specialists in our area, the Petaluma PD utilizes social media platforms to educate the public on mental health and provided contact information for people in crisis.
The Petaluma PD works annually with the Polly Klaas Foundation and the Petaluma School District to offer Internet-Safety/Cyber Bullying outreach whenever requested. Our Detective’s unit provides additional support as community panel members and posting social media public services announcements (PSA) throughout the year to educate parents about monitoring their child’s technology to prevent victimization.
The SMART train railroad through Sonoma County has increased the need to educate the public on pedestrian and vehicle safety near the tracks. In 2018, grant funds received from Union Pacific Foundation enable the Petaluma Police Department to partner with SMART to create safety videos and outreach for the community. The Railroad safety movie ( filmed in both Spanish and English) plays annually at local movie theaters and on social media sites. Throughout the year volunteers from the Petaluma PD provide safety resources to passengers on the trains to decrease railway accidents or injury.
Bike Give Back Program
“Re-Cycling Back into the Community” started in 2015. The Petaluma PD volunteer program created a bicycle give-back program in which high school students, volunteers and interns clean, fix, and deliver “unclaimed” stolen bikes to non-profit organizations in Sonoma County that serve youth and low-income families. To date, the bike give-back program has donated more than 200 bikes to Petaluma People’s Services, Mentor Me Petaluma, COTS, Sonoma Advocates for Youth, California Parenting Institute, Cypress School, Boys & Girls’ Club, Christmas Cheer and to bike community events like the Grand Fondo. Provided quarterly, bikes are given to Sonoma County organizations on our list. All labor is provided by volunteers and interns free of charge and, new helmets are given with the donated bikes at time of delivery.
Junior Police Academy
Our Bi-annual free Junior Police Camp is offered to the public in the spring and summer for grades 3rd through 8th. The four-day camp builds student leadership skills through law enforcement activities that focus on teamwork, a winning attitude and serving your community. Staff demonstrations on Police Officer equipment use, training and safety methods raise student awareness on how they can be ambassadors of public safety in the community.
Shop with a Cop
The Shop with a Cop program is a community-based holiday event that partners Petaluma PD officers with low-income students from all local public, private and charter elementary schools. Students who are identified by school administrators and youth programs, receive a fun “shopping spree” at Target accompanied by an officer to select presents for their families. Petaluma PD School Resource Officers work closely with school staff throughout the year to ensure that our program supports as many families as possible.
Coffee With a Cop
Public trust is built through meaningful conversations and problem-solving dialogues with the community we serve. Coffee With a Cop is a program that provides regularly scheduled sworn staff outreach through in person "meet and greets" at local coffee establishments. To make sure this program is accessible to all, Coffee With a Cop events are hosted on both the West and East side of town and at multiple times and days throughout the year to accommodate the publics' schedules.
National Night Out
National Night Out began in 1984 involving 2.5 million neighbors across 400 communities in 23 states. Law enforcement agencies, neighborhood watch groups, civic groups, state crime prevention entities, city departments and social service providers teamed up together to provide a community-centered event to build community cohesion and camaraderie. The National Night Out event, which is hosted once a year, gives our community an opportunity to speak directly to first responders, observe demonstrations, tour emergency vehicles, receive safety resources and enjoy free food and children's activities.
There is no substitute for meeting with the public in person. As such, the Petaluma PD provides multiple Town Halls annually to engage the community in discussions about crime trends, safety tips and increasing the quality of life for all people who live within Petaluma. The Town Hall format includes command staff presentations and smaller "break out sessions" in which community members speak with their assigned beat officer about neighborhood concerns. Safety resources and Spanish speaking translation headsets are available at these events. To ensure that Town Halls are available to everyone in the community ,they are hosted on both the West and East side of Petaluma and at local sites such as the library, schools, community center and not-for-profit centers.
Safe Return Program
It is not uncommon for the Petaluma PD to receive calls requesting help to locate a person who has gone missing. Our agency understands how dangerous it can be for people suffering from memory loss as a result of medication, head injury, Dementia or Alzheimer's disease. For this reason, The Petaluma PD partnered with the Alzheimer's Association to create the free Safe Return program. The Safe Return Program allows family members and caregivers to register anyone who is at risk of wandering due to these impairments. Crucial information accessed through this registry program, increases our ability to find missing persons efficiently and quickly.
As a first-responder agency we recognize the importance of receiving information efficiently and instantly. Especially, when your safety is of concern. We also understand that community members have varying levels of comfort or access to communication platforms. As such, the Petaluma Police Department offers several ways to receive information via social media platforms and online communication systems.