WatchSonoma Watch

Wysocky wants police explanation about kids-guns event

Santa Rosa City Councilman Gary Wysocky doesn’t just disagree with Mayor Ernesto Oliveras about charging for parking at Howarth Park. (Click here to see that story.) He also disagrees with him about the controversy over Santa Rosa SWAT team members allowing children in the South Park neighborhood to handle automatic weapons.

Wysocky said he was in Southern California on business when the Santa Rosa story was teased on a Los Angeles television station. “They were teasing it for 45 minutes,” he said.

Wysocky said he is still “unsettled” about the issue and is hoping to get some answers from the Police Department about how this event meshes with the city’s community policing program.

“The children were just playing with them like toys,” said Wysocky. ““That’s not educating. That’s desensitizing.”

Mayor Olivares said on Thursday that he supported the decision by police to allow children to handle the weapons at the Aug. 13 event. Oliveras, a retired Santa Rosa police lieutenant, helped organize the first such event three years ago which was spearheaded by the mayor’s gang prevention task force. He said such interactions offer “teaching moments” that allow officers to present positive messages.

But Wysocky said he questions what they are teaching. “Like I said, I want to know where the education aspect of this is,” he said. “To me, it doesn’t seem wise. … How is this part of community policing?”

“Those are automatic weapons. I can’t believe that’s safe,” he said. “I don’t know how (outreach) is served with 10-year-olds playing with guns.”

Today’s City Council meeting has been canceled, but don’t’ be surprised to hear Wysocky bring this issue up at the next council meeting on Aug. 30 – when the council members are slated to talk about charging for parking at Howarth Park.

- Paul Gullixson

48 Responses to “Wysocky wants police explanation about kids-guns event”

  1. Rick says:

    Maybe they have integrity and won’t lie about it just for political calming. IT WAS NOT AN ERROR IN JUDGEMENT. I was a fine display and it was great to get the kids involved and hands on. So many assumptions here it has just gotten silly. Good luck to you all in the very uncertain, potentionally successful, politically correct future. The grit you taste is the sand in your mouth from the hole you have your heads in. Happy ignorances!

  2. Eric Newman says:

    You know, this whole episode could have been over in 24 hours if the police chief and the Mayor had simply owned up to the fact that this was an error in judgment on the part of a few officers and pledged that this would not happen again. Then it would not have turned into a national embarrassment for the city of Santa Rosa. C’mon guys, just admit the error and move on!

  3. Pearl Alquileres says:

    I’ll just say “your welcome” in advance.

    I drilled into my kid’s head from a very early age how to handle guns.
    If you ask him “how do you tell if a gun is loaded” he’ll tell you “that’s easy… there’s no such thing as an unloaded gun!”
    So when your sheltered little moron is playing with a gun around my kid, you can rest assured that the ignorant fool won’t shoot himself or someone else!

    Admittedly to the detriment of the gene pool, but your welcome none the less.

  4. John says:

    That was my question … Where are the outraged parents of the children holding the rifles? Why were they not speaking?

    Also to Wysocky – If (as you said) you believe this community event is so important why didn’t you at least stop by and make an appearance? As an elected community Leader?

    The outrage should be to this paper’s editorial staff for slanting and skewing this story to slam the cops. Nice job taking attention away from this great event. Shame on you for crushing the hard work of our local youth for your own politics.

  5. whatwouldhappen says:

    “Those are automatic weapons. I can’t believe that’s safe,” he said. “I don’t know how (outreach) is served with 10-year-olds playing with guns.”

    Do you really believe this, or are you just trying to get your name in the paper?

    Let me address your issues:
    1.) Are you sure they were automatic weapons? Do you really have any idea what weapons were even there? Does it matter if the weapon being shown was automatic, semi-automatic, or single shot? The fact of the matter is that the children were shown a tool that the police use in a safe manner and in a controlled environment. I cannot think of a safer way to educate them and reach out to them.

    2.) They were not “playing with guns.” They were shown the weapons and allowed to handle them with adult supervision. And not just any adults, but experienced and trained professionals that you expect to protect you and your family. I would be proud to have any member of our police force to interact with my child in any way they deemed safe.

    Most people that have found issue with this fall into 2 categories(possibly both): anti-gun or they are running for or are in political office.

    Was there any complaints from any of the parents of the children who were lucky enough to participate in the event? If not then please mind your own business.

  6. SR Watcher says:

    You just gotta be real! I wonder what Dr. Phil would say about this situation? I bet the police would be very sheepish if they were talking with a psychologist about this issue… if not, they really should be ashamed. All politics aside….it is wrong to glorify a gun…yes they use them in their line of work…in dire conditions hopefully…but not at this type of event. That is why it is so shocking…really!!Do any of you responding actually live in the neighborhood? The reason they started the event in the first place was because they wanted to lend a feeling of safety to the kids in the neighborhood since they had a shooting in the park a few years ago…

    I can’t think of anyone that would disagree with gun safety being important for those juveniles that are contemplating hunting or even for sport. And I am almost positive that the officers themselves teach their own children about gun safety. However, this was not the case! The Police officer in the photo is a motorcycle officer….he was likely working some overtime and was just holding down the fort at the Swat Vehicle! Seriously, they deal with guns all of the time and likely get excited about telling about the guns…it is their life remember! I don’t truly think they realized how it looks….the Mayor was not smart to chime in…except that you have to remember that he was also from the department and vested in the event early on. I doubt that he had people come up to him in the past about how weird it is to glorify guns…at a peaceful event. Last year I heard complaints about the balloons that looked like grenades…For those of you hammering Wysocky because he is promising to look into the story ….he has been elected to do what is right for the citizens….even if they don’t vote. Oh yeah, the kid that did the shooting in the park a few years ago…was riding a bicycle while he did the dirty deed….the neighborhood doesn’t need to see how to use guns! They see what they do every day. Stop making excuses for the police anyway..they need to change their policies…showing kids how to use weapons is not a community need. Try talking with the neighborhood kids….learning about them and making a human connection. My mantra is Kids not Guns!!!

  7. jason Valez says:

    I believe Gary Wysocky is still bitter about losing the council majority in 2010. It was his boondoggle with the Humboldt Street bike boulevard that cost the progressives the majority on the city council. He has been gunning for mayor Olivares ever since, no pun intended. Wysocky would have been the mayor if the progressives were still in the majority. Vote this clown out in 2012.

  8. John says:

    @ concerned parent – It was recently done at the airshow with and automatic door gun from a gunship. Yes, kids handling large fully automatic machine guns in public.

    The only reason it wasn’t front page in the paper was it didn’t have anything to do with public safety employees. If you haven’t noticed this paper and several of the council members will jump at ANY chance to spin reality and inflame public opinion concerning these employees. BTW, reporters were taking pictures at the airshow.

    @ non-violent – I don’t believe the police were invading homes and forcing kids to hold these weapons against their will. More likely these kids were interested ,as they are curious, and wanted to see them. Knowledge is safer than fear when it comes to gun safety. I would rather see children experience guns from a police officer’s perspective than that of our Hollywood film makers and video games where violence is really learned. That’s my opinion.

  9. Social Dis-Ease says:

    Grandstanding/pandering, charade.
    Wysocky fiscally, civically, shoots us every week.

  10. Joseph says:

    When I was a student at Cal Poly in san Luis Obispo, my math professor spent time teaching at the California mens colony next to campus (a state prison). One day he was late to his class at the prison and the guards made him remove his tie and long shirt,plus the gave him slippers to replace his dress shoes with the laces. And he is tell the class what he just went through and why he was in prison garb. They were laughing hard at him. He said ” I know it is funny but i d.id not think it was that funny” then one of the lifers responded “Doc, if we wanted to kill you we would use one of these sharpened #2 pencils you just handed us and stick it in you ear”
    It is not the tool, it is the intent.
    Another officer was shot on duty last night by a youth, we need to make a connection with our youth early, that is exactly what the benefit of this event was. A chance for a young person to get to know an officer and his job.

  11. Just Me says:

    To Lily: your statement “I know Gary. I know his daughter. No matter what is written here, the truth is he is a fine man and excellent father. How many of you can say that. Another thing I know is most of the things you have written here you would never have the courage to say it to his face. Knowing what I do, I thank Gary for his contribution to society. What is yours?”

    My answer is there are several of us in this community that would be happy to take Mr. Wysocky and his daughter to the range and educate them. Perhaps then, he would have a better understanding of the tool known as a gun.

    It is no different than a table saw, drill, KitchenAid mixer, blender or garbage disposal or the family car. One must also learn how to handle those tools to prevent injuries and death.

    How can you all continue to argue against the education of yet another tool that used improperly can be deadly?

  12. Just Me says:

    Wysocky, you weren’t there. Investigate to find the truth before you spout please!

    TO SRPD: THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU FOR MAKING THE EFFORT TO E-D-U-C-A-T-E the youth of our city. Now if you could just figure out how to educate the adults who just want to bury their heads in the sand!!!

  13. Skippy says:

    Wishing that guns would just go away is the province of a child.
    Understanding and accepting how important they are to the peaceful order of society takes an adult.
    The infantilization and castration of America continues apace…

  14. Rick says:

    Concerned Parent,
    No thank you. My ancestors came to CA in covered wagons to the Bay Area. 6th generation. Proud of our history. I will stay. These days “Enlightened” in CA usually means out of touch with reality on some subjects. I accept that, as irrational as it is. I apply common sense to the obvious, without prejudice. I can look at a situation without going off on a political or psychotic rant. I accept that there are different opinions out there. I don’t condemn them because I don’t agree with them. However, when they slide into the irrational, the paranoid or perverse, I tend to ignore them.

    p.s. No need for inflamatory posts, trying to associate my posts with the past slaughter of buffalo. I never mentioned hunting in my posts. AR style rifles are very, very accurate and widely used in competitive shooting, even among youth competitors.

  15. Concerned Parent says:

    The Big Sky states are callin your name…I can hear em now…assault rifle a herd of buffalo in WY…or I hear Texas is nice???

  16. Lily says:

    I know Gary. I know his daughter. No matter what is written here, the truth is he is a fine man and excellent father. How many of you can say that. Another thing I know is most of the things you have written here you would never have the courage to say it to his face. Knowing what I do, I thank Gary for his contribution to society. What is yours?

  17. BigDogatPlay says:

    At least we’ve determined that there are two complete and utter hoplophobes on the council.

    Mr. Wysocky needs to take a serious chill pill, stop grandstanding and worry more about the important issues concerning the council…. such as when the city’s bankruptcy petition should be filed.

  18. Steve Humphrey says:


    You are a perceptive one. It actually goes even further. Those really weren’t policeman in the picture nor was the swat vehicle an armored police unit. They were actually aliens from the planet Krypto and the armored unit was a space traveling machine. The Kryptonites came here to gather information on our children while implanting them with a secret chip. The chip can only be read with a special decoder ring they are going to offer on Captain Crunch cereal boxes. It’s all a big scam.
    My advice is to save those boxtops.

  19. Rick says:

    Concerned Parent,
    Let’s face it, you are not “all for guns”, or it would not bother you that the kids were allowed to handle them. There is no difference between those guns and legal AR style rifles. Yes, those style rifles are still legal in California. Some of the guns they have will fire on automatic but no one but the operator would know it. These are not illegal or evil assault rifles. They were guns, and that is a problem for many. When fundraising for charities, some agencies auction off a “Day at the Range”. That is when the highest bidder or raffle winner gets to go out and shoot anything and everything in the agency’s arsenal. That is what is called fun. Yes, even a 10 or 12 year old gets a kick out of shooting a gun. It is not brainwashing, under supervision, it is called a fun activity.

  20. Concerned Parent says:

    I am all for guns, responsibly owned and used. This was not responsible. This was a show of force for South Park residents, period. It wasn’t done in Wikiup or Fountain Grove was it? Having kids handling weapons which they can not purchase is a set up for disaster. Let’s let them drive a cop car too, that would be productive…let me know where and when so I can get off the streets!

  21. Graeme Wellington says:

    This isn’t about education. SRPD has cleverly and legally obtained the fingerprints of numerous alleged gang members and wannabes for future use and will be running them against all the cold cases and keeping them for future reference. They probably have a picture of the kids holding the weapons and photographs of the fingerprints in place on the machine guns so as to ward off accusations of planting evidence. Or perhaps a few of those automatic weapons were actually replicas from Japan and UK retail stores the police will hold onto in case they need to plant evidence later.

    It’s not much different than TV detectives giving someone a glass of water or a can of Coke during an interview — which they gingerly collect with a handkerchief later and process for prints.

    Yes, the police think of everything. And you thought the days of sliding across the hood and yelling “no time for backup!” was over.

  22. Heather says:


    How about worrying about a real threat, illegal aliens that drive in Sonoma County and Santa Rosa. Now that is a real threat to the children of Santa Rosa. How about cracking down on them and taking some tough action on real threats.

  23. Wysocky the hypocrite? says:

    Wysocky is a card carrying member of the Sonoma County Chapter of the “Progressive Democrats of America” which has less than a hundred formal members in Sonoma County. Let’s see if Wysocky attends their fundraiser with Sean Penn this week. Penn has a record of violence but also has a permit for a concealed weapon.

  24. I hope this incident can promote a some thoughtful public discourse. What does it look like to educate our children about firearms? What does it look like to educate our children about public safety and the police? Is this what it looks like? Are there ways we can improve?

  25. Dan Delgado says:

    I’m just glad they didn’t buy a house next door to Kathy Millison.

  26. Rod says:

    I thought we got rid of the nuts when Jacoby got booted off the council. No Wysocky is stepping right up to challenge everything. He cannot even get any attention when he talks about number-crunching, which I was told was his specialty, perhaps a CPA or accountant of some kind. Relax, Gary, the Police will be here a lot longer than any of the crap you try to start. SR has a fine Police Dept, a fine Chief, do not mess with it. You should have learned when you could not get the freeway bike crossing to no where approved. Listen to the majority on the council and learn something before you shoot in the dark……..

  27. Thomas Jefferson says:

    What do they put in the water (too much pot ?)here…These liberals just
    cant understand normal thinking

  28. Commonsense says:

    Wow, Gary, you weren’t there and don’t appear to have any specific information about what was done or said, but feel free to be critical based on a media tease, report and a photo (we all know how accurate the media is). I’d really like it if politicians started getting educated themselves BEFORE they start speaking out.
    But then again, if he didn’t I wouldn’t have gotten the laughs I did reading some of the comments here.
    Non-violent says no one pays the political establishment to stick their nose into parenting. Really, have you taken a look at the California Code of Education? When you have a week read it, along with some of the new laws that will be in the next revised code recently passed by the state legislature. Then read the CA Penal Code, Welfare and Institutions Code, etc. This State, and others, do stick its nose into parenting in many ways for many reasons including but not exclusive to safety, education and health and welfare. And your comment about a person who owns numerous guns being stupid, is just that. Guns can be and are for many collectables that are worth substantial sums of money. I took a gun safety course as a teenager, and it was put on by local law enforcement. It was educational and assisted me in understanding the dangers and proper uses of a weapon. How do you or Gary know there was no educational value, were you there? Did you speak to any of the children or officers involved?
    And @Justice, really, all gun owners are undereducated good ole okie’s….I’ve lived in more then a few areas, some where hunting season was a school holiday and I can safely say that I have yet to run into the kind of person you describe in your post, amusing as it may be for me to read it. In fact, given all the dead deer on the road, maybe a hunting season would help, since there doesn’t appear to be sufficent natural predators for the deer, but I’m guessing the county would sell a whole 10 licenses, so it wouldn’t be worth it.

  29. Rick says:

    Here is the link that proves my point.


    Way to go Mayor!!!

    Good, clean, fun. God Bless America.

  30. Skippy says:

    Stay helpless.
    Deny reality.

  31. Rick says:

    Thank you very much, for proving my point.

  32. JohnSoCo says:

    NonViolent 3:03pm – thanks for proving my point about your useless comments. The article link you posted is about an EX police office molesting a family member. Two things here, 1)many if not most pedophiles (sexual predators that target children) are attracted to careers involving kids, like this guy; 2)child abuse is commonly by an extended family member, this child was related and he had access. Are you trying to point out that families with cops leads to child molestation?

    Your bottom line seems to be that children should never be allowed near strange adults regardless of the adults status. Bummer for the sick parent that needs child to find a fire fighter or cop in an emergency.

    Like I stated to Wysocki, how about leading by example and providing a positive solution to your problem? Perhaps classes to train children to avoid all adults that are strangers? Your proposal to sue the City and the Mayor is yet another example of you being part of the problem, not the solution. A lawsuit will profit lawyers, will perhaps create some new, stupid nanny-state law so you feel better about yourself, but it wont protect or educate children in the real world.

  33. This is their attempt at a community outreach? Sounds more like community intimidation. See how big OUR guns are? Or maybe it’s a weird Public Relations stunt—see we’re just like you, never mind our record of police involved shootings and fatalities.

  34. Non Violent says:


    The above link simply demonstrates, once again, why we should not ever allow strangers to approach and interact with our children regardless of their claim that they were merely “educating” the youth on the subject of guns.

    The detective in the mug shot was arrested for sexually molesting and having sexual intercourse with his 15 year old cousin three times a week.

    Do we REALLY want strangers, regardless of their badges, to be pretending “education” for our Santa Rosa minor children?

    No. We don’t. We need to sue the City to get that message across since the Mayor and Police Chief just don’t get it.

    Again, despite all the messages posted by the local gun freaks at the JC “academy,” the majority of civilized society don’t want cops nor any other adult stranger near their kids. Especially gun freaks.

  35. Rick says:

    Non Violent,
    This is an important safety issue. Don’t allow prejudice to blind you to a very valuable teaching moment. Children who know nothing about gun safety are 10 times more likely to have an accident with a firearm than an educated child. Where do your kids play? Knowing your disposition about guns, I can assure you your neighbors are not going to tell you if they own guns. If your neighborhood children find a gun, will they know how to not touch it, or will they become a statistic? Many prejudge people for their hobbies, jobs or other characteristics. It is never a good thing. However, I will put my character and integrity up against anyone’s. As for stupid? I have probably taught children in your neighborhood.

  36. @ Alex Putting a condom on a banana in sex ed class will help prevent this type of mentality from propagating. Frolicking with bananas is a lot less harmful than frolicking with automatic weapons. Wysocky, please don’t let them quiet you.

  37. Skippy says:

    How dare young folks handle an inanimate object?!
    It’s an outrage!

    The Risks of Cycling.
    Ken Kifer has a huge page with lots of stats and analysis. His conclusion is that cycling is not dangerous.

    Ironically, he was later killed while riding his bike.

    Deaths per year. 725, 629, 665, 732, and 693 cyclists died per year in 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, and 2000 respectively, and were about 89% male. (National Highway Traffic Saftey Administration, and Insurance Institute for Highway Saftey)

    The rate of deaths per mile traveled is over 10 times as high for bicycles as for automobiles.

    I demand an immediate formal investigation into Gary Wysocky’s reckless insistence that Santa Rosans use bicycles instead of cars.
    These instruments of death have no place in a civilized society.
    They are certainly far too dangerous for children to touch, much less ride.
    The time has finally come for common-sense legislation regarding these killing machines.
    We must ban bicycles now!
    If it saves even one life, it is worth it.

  38. J says:

    Let’s see an article address why the SRPD didn’t impound the vehicle of the unlicensed driver who killed Buddy, and why Alicia Roman is still out there waving signs at the checkpoints, let’s see what she has to say about her responsibility in the death of a child.

  39. The good ‘ol boy, souped up truck driv’n, god fearing, police lovin’ okie flat Santa Rosan is still alive and well and he/she sports this kinda edumacation. Furthermore, they quite like dis type of MexyCAN.

  40. Alex says:

    Righht…and I guess putting a condom on a banana in sex ed class is considered frolicking with bananas? Why doesn’t Wysocky just can it?!

  41. “The children were just playing with them like toys,that’s not educating. That’s desensitizing.” Wysocky’s not the only one who’s embarrassed, a lot of us know despite all the hype; with its proximity to Marin and San Francisco, its idyllic vineyards and internationally acclaimed wines—Sonoma County is not known as a progressive place after all. Hiding out in Sebastopol won’t insulate you entirely and it doesn’t change the fact that our county is not an extremely desirable place to live for the socially conscious.

  42. JohnSoCo says:

    Gary, here is a thought: instead of focusing on the negative and hounding the mayor and the SRPD about their actions, how about if you lead by example and provide a path to education for children in this neighborhood on the subject of guns and gun safety. It is impossible these days to put any belief in another politician that is quick to point fingers but lacking positive solutions.

    Rick is on subject – all the folks complaining about this action (the minority of folks leaving comments I note) have a serious “head in the sand” mentality. Seriously, any responsible parent should understand that children need to be educated, starting with exposure to the subject whatever that may be. The real world, and especially this part of the world, includes guns. Not a single person that disagrees with the SRPD actions has provided any positive, alternate idea to get kids educated about guns.

  43. Non Violent says:

    Gun worshipers are usually weak in character and seek to enhance their shallow masculinity by gun ownership.

    I once knew a guy who boasted that he owned “16 guns.” Uh, yeah. Sweet. And he was fairly stupid, too, but I didn’t mention that to him.

  44. Non Violent says:

    City Councilman Gary Wysocky is on the mark with his desire to get answers from the police department.

    As he stated, correctly, there was essentially no “education” despite the police chant.

    As you all know from my previous posts, I consider the police simply brainwashing the minor children into the police line of thought.

    Note to police of Santa Rosa and the Mayor & Police Chief:
    Keep away from the minor children of Santa Rosa unless you have an actual law enforcement reason to question those kids. Nobody pays you to sit there doing nothing and trying to impress the kids with your military weapons (automatic rifles and tank).

    I think I’m pretty clear on this. Nobody pays the political establishment to stick their nose into parenting.

  45. Jay says:

    Step away from the bike lane Gary, the world is a big place and it’s hard to see from atop your 10-speed of morality.

    Cops educating kids on SWAT in a high-crime area… Only in Santa Rosa is this a problem for “progressives”.

  46. What Would Marx Think says:

    Maybe Wysocky should put his bicycle down and pay attention to what is happening in Santa Rosa. The police go out to a crime infested neighborhood and try to relate to the kids. The police carry guns and they had SWAT equipment which will attract the attention of kids.

    What would Wysocky do? Take his old flower children buddies out there and pass out pot and peace symbol buttons.

    The locals would not recognize Wysocky even if his brought his buddy Jake “Pothole” Mackenzie along in his Good Will Hawaiian shirt.

    The police are at least trying to do something positive in the community. They may stumble from time to time, but at least they try. Wysocky, like all leftys, likes to talk and be outraged.

    Wysocky needs to stick to things he knows best, bike paths and street theater.

  47. Joseph Donegan says:

    As far a I know, no police weapons have been used in commision of a crime. Yet the policy of not impounding vehicles has led to the death of a lovely little boy and others. In direct conflict with the vehicle code. A little out of touch with reality I would say.

  48. Rick says:

    It seems very clear from all the posts on this subject. You either accept that kids can legally handle guns, or you do not accept it. No amount of justification on the positive side will sway anyone who does not like it. I suppose the Youth Shooting Sports programs I run are considered child abuse because I teach kids to shoot guns that look just like those “machine guns”. Ignorance knows no bounds.