Forward Together Work Group

Image of Forward Together Work Group SessionDescription

The Modesto Mayor and City Council recognize that trust is the foundation of a strong relationship between law enforcement and the community. Both national and local events, some with tragic outcomes, speak to the need for connecting with our community on how we would like to be policed. The Council believes that together we can build a strong resilient public safety environment.

With the goal of stronger relationships and greater trust, Mayor Zwahlen has launched the Forward Together initiative – a community engagement process to hear from the public, develop a shared understanding, and explore solutions to improve the safety of our community.

Listening Sessions

An initial Listening Session was held on May 22, 2021 which gave the public an opportunity to share feedback about policing in Modesto with City Council and staff. The goal of the Listening Session was to gather input from the community and was the first step in identifying opportunities to work together to enhance the safety of our community.  Watch the May 22, 2021 listening session on the City of Modesto's Official YouTube Channel.

Work Group Meetings

The Forward Together Work Group hosted its first meeting on Tuesday, July 20, 2021. All meetings will be open to the public, with the details of in-person and virtual yet to be determined. Members of the Work Group will spend 6 to 12 months developing a deeper understanding of current police practices and policies in order to develop specific recommendations for City Council consideration.

The community-based process is intended to provide an opportunity for broader community involvement in any recommendations to improve police-community relations in the City of Modesto. Watch the July 20, 2021 work group meeting on the City of Modesto's Official YouTube Channel.

Community Health and Assistance Team (CHAT)

An alternative response to 911 calls

Beginning in the summer of 2020, the Modesto Police Department began exploring the idea of creating city Homeless Outreach Specialists to respond to qualifying calls through the 911 communications center for mental health crises and similar non-criminal, non-violent incidents. The first Outreach Specialists were hired in April 2021 and the early success of these interactions have been promising, helping to build relationships and work with individuals to accept shelter and services, resulting in the newly formed CHAT team. Learn more about the CHAT program.

November 2021

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NameOrganization Name Term
Thomas HelmeAmerican Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Northern California
Will KellyAmerican Federation of Labor - Stanislaus Central Labor Council 
Austin GrantBlack Student Union
Leah AshfordCity Ministry Network
Jonathan GrammaticoCentral Valley Pride Center (CVPC) MoPride
Solange AltmanCommunity Member
Terhesa GamboaCommunity Member
Marian MartinoCommunity Member
Nico SolorioCommunity Member
Josh BridegroomDowntown Modesto Partnership
Alvaro RamirezEl Concilio
Adriana GarciaHispanic Chamber of Commerce
Aaron AnguianoLatino Community Roundtable
Trish ChristensenModesto Chamber of Commerce
Tim ZearleyModesto City Schools 
Darius CrosbyModesto Clergy Council
Brad HawnModesto Neighborhoods, Inc.
Aaron TaitModesto PD Internal Affairs
Dan StarrModesto Police Officers Association (MPOA)
Wendy ByrdNational Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)
Linda MayoNational Alliance on Mental Illness
Ruben ImperialStanislaus County Behavioral Health
Birgit FladagerStanislaus County District Attorney
Matthew MasonStanislaus County Interfaith Council (SCIC)
Jennifer JennisonStanislaus County Public Defender
Jeff DirkseStanislaus County Sheriff's Department
Perfecto MunozWest Modesto Community Collaborative
photos of national night out and community