SAN MARCOS — The City of San Marcos, along with the San Marcos Sheriff’s Station, hosted a virtual event last week to answer public safety questions impacting the city and its residents.
The Virtual Community Connection was held on the morning of Aug. 5 and was led by San Marcos Sheriff’s Station Capt. Jason Vickery and San Marcos Mayor Rebecca Jones.
This was the first of its kind, but Jones told The Coast News that she anticipates doing something like it every couple of months.
“When I first took office, one of the things I wanted to work on was greater outreach to the community and more inclusive efforts. … I think it’s really important for people to know how and why things happen in their community, so we’re always looking for ways to make things more inclusive in that way,” she said.
Residents were able to submit questions through an online form beforehand or they could send in questions during the event.
“Normally, during meetings like this, a lot of people have questions about things that pertain to them individually, such as speeders on their street or break-ins in their area,” Vickery said. “In this meeting, with what’s been going nationwide regarding police, there were more big-picture questions about policing and whether or not the Sheriff’s Department is doing any of the reforms that people have been seeking.”
These included questions about the “8 Can’t Wait” campaign, a list of eight reform policies that supporters believe can be implemented by police departments to avoid police brutality incidents during arrests, as well as use-of-force and oversight strategies.
“For the most part, most of the reforms that people have been asking for, the Sheriff’s Department has been ahead of the curve on,” Vickery said. “We were one of the first law enforcement agencies in the county to provide formal de-escalation training, we’ve banned the use of the carotid restraint and deputies have always been trained to intervene when they observe another deputy using excessive force, just to name a few examples.”
Vickery added that the department has had a citizen’s law enforcement review board since 1990, which he says should soon be receiving additional funds to bolster the staff.
San Marcos’ crime rate, which is one of the lowest in the county, was also discussed. Jones and Vickery spoke about how proud they are that the city had a 10-year crime low last year.
Jones credited the city’s emphasis on public programs and public safety for the consistently low crime rate.
“It was all very valuable,” Vickery said. “And what we’d like this event to be is a place for people in the San Marcos community — if they have questions about crime in their area or traffic or quality of life — it’s an opportunity for them to ask me or the mayor directly about whatever they may be concerned about.”