How to contact the SAFE Team
Emergency: Call 911
Non-emergency: Call Dispatch at 707-584-2612
Petaluma People Services Center (PPSC): Email [email protected]

October of 2021, the City of Rohnert Park and City of Cotati launched the Specialized Assistance For Everyone (SAFE) team, creating a new model for responding to crises in the community.

“The creation of the SAFE team is incredible. In recent years there has been tremendous nation-wide concern about the role of police, the first responders to not just crimes but to all kinds of crises. Our police do a great job, but they can’t do everything asked of them. This team gives us another option, with professional staff trained to address a variety of crises. I couldn’t be more excited about what SAFE brings to our City,” said Mayor Gerard Giudice.

SAFE Team photo of vanRohnert Park and Cotati are contracting with Petaluma People Services Center (PPSC), which will operate the program as it does in Petaluma. The SAFE Team has a medic (nurse, paramedic, or Emergency Medical Technician) and a crisis worker. They will be supported by a Coordinator to manage referrals to PPSC and Sonoma County services.

The program initially operated twelve hours per day, seven days a week, and will progress toward eighteen to twenty hours/day. Staff estimate the team will respond to about 3,500 calls each year.

Services provided by SAFE include responding to people who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, in need of treatment for mental illness, or who need shelter by providing counseling and transportation to the appropriate location. The team will also address minor medical complaints that do not require emergency room care. Left untreated, some of these medical conditions can become severe.

“The SAFE team gives us another tool to ensure we are sending the right people to calls for service,” said Cotati Mayor John Moore. “We’re grateful to the County Supervisors, and specifically Chris Coursey and David Rabbitt for recognizing its value and using funds from Measure O to help cover startup costs. This program puts Rohnert Park and Cotati among the cities adopting the latest innovations in police best practices.”

Annual costs are expected to be $1.1 million/year, including the contract with PPSC and the costs of vans to support the program. The cities received a state grant for $1 million that will partially cover costs for the first four years. Additionally, the County Board of Supervisors approved approximately $400,000 from Measure O (the countywide mental health and homelessness tax) for the initial year of operation. Remaining costs will be split between the Cities of Rohnert Park (84%) and Cotati (16%) based on the volume of calls expected.

Launching the SAFE team is one of numerous steps Rohnert Park and Cotati are taking to increase law enforcement accountability and improve community relations. Rohnert Park has committed to retaining an Independent Police Auditor to review the handling of civilian complaints, creating a community round table to obtain feedback from underrepresented groups, re-starting the Civilian Police Academy, and increasing officer training in implicit bias, de-escalation, and diversity awareness. Cotati was the first city in Sonoma County to mandate body worn cameras, which promotes transparency with the community we serve. Cotati has initiated an annual community report regarding Police activities and implemented new best practices around use of force with new software that flags arrests/incidents creating automatic review by command staff to ensure that our department is held to the highest standards. The policies and added training support best practices and increase awareness around procedural justice, implicit bias, crisis intervention training and de-escalation, diversity and inclusion.