District Attorney and Chief of Police Partner with Glide to Increase Empathy in Addressing Homelessness Issues

Members of Law Enforcement spent two days at the Glide Church in the SF Tenderloin District

Press Release

(Woodland, CA) – April 19, 2018 – Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig announced that from March 26-28, 2018, police officers and prosecutors from California, Oregon and Utah attended a training at the Glide Church in the Tenderloin District of San Francisco. This “21st Century Leadership Training” was billed as an immersion experience for public safety and civil leaders who are addressing issues of homelessness, addiction, mental illness, poverty and despair in their communities.

Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig coordinated this program with University of Oregon Police Chief Matt Carmichael and Rabbi Michael Lezak of the Glide Church. Reisig stated, “This training is intended to help leaders explore their understanding of the ways we all work together to serve challenged communities to improve the quality of life for all of our citizens. Put more simply, we want to build better empathy for police and prosecutors, in particular, when working with the homeless.”

“Learning how to connect with our communities happens in our communities," Chief Carmichael said. "Just like Glide itself, this program teaches us and reminds us that we serve everyone, without reservation."

Reisig and his Chief Deputy Jonathan Raven visited the Glide Church in December of last year. As part of the two-day program, they toured the Tenderloin and served lunch to hundreds of people seeking services from Glide. “Many of us have served lunch to the homeless before,” said Raven. “The Rabbi told us that we would also be eating with them. He told us to wait our turn in line with those waiting to be served lunch and also to eat at a table with them on our own. This was both eye-opening and enlightening.”

This professional development program was designed to provide criminal justice professionals and civic leaders a unique perspective on the skills necessary to deliver an effective level of service to our diverse and complex communities. The non-traditional leadership program provides attendees an opportunity to learn and grow as leaders through the immersion experience in a deeply troubled neighborhood. It may also empower local leaders to return to their communities with new thoughts, ideas and tools needed to address local challenges. Those invited to attend included, Police, Firefighters, Emergency Medical Technicians, Prosecutors, Judges, Public Defenders and Victim Advocates.

Yolo County Supervising Deputy District Attorneys Rob Gorman and Ryan Couzens attended the two-day program. “One might find it odd that a Deputy DA would take a work trip to a church and be inspired by a Rabbi, and that's exactly what happened,” said Gorman. “I know I have gained an insight into a segment of our population that will remain with me. When dealing with the issues of homelessness I will now be leading with my heart.”

Reisig, Chief Carmichael and Rabbi Lezak are in the process of planning future trainings at the Glide Church.