Introducing retired cop Shawn Pickett running for Antioch City Council District 4

Shawn Pickett inside City Hall on June 30, 2022. Source: Facebook

“Antioch is at a crossroad. We are not on the right path. Not much has changed in the last ten years…We need a councilperson who returns phone calls and emails. We don’t need a councilperson who simply casts a vote.” – Shawn Pickett

Lamar Thorpe, Tamisha nd Monica Wilson have been pushing their police reforms. They’re not meaningful. They’re just bloviating.”

Shawn Pickett

By Allen D. Payton

The only new face, and the only man, running for the Antioch City Council, this year, is Shawn Pickett, a retired Richmond Police lieutenant, challenging incumbent Monica Wilson for the District 4 seat. The husband, father of two daughters and grandfather, recently shared about his background.

“I was born in Berkeley and raised by my grandparents Sarah and Eugene Perry. I attended Catholic schools and in my senior year, I transferred to Albany High School where I graduated. I have a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice Management.

I retired in 2018 as a police lieutenant with 31 years of public service. Throughout my law enforcement career, I have developed a leadership philosophy that will bring success and the ability to move our district forward as your council representative and contribute to the greater at large City of Antioch.

When I moved my family to Antioch in 1993 for the affordable housing and better schooling, I knew Antioch was the place to raise my family. My wife, Lisa and I have been married for 34 years, and we are the parents of two daughters and one granddaughter. My daughters attended Antioch elementary schools and graduated from Deer Valley High School. My granddaughter is a student at Dozier-Libby Medical High School.”

Pickett began his career as a police officer in 1987, then from 2000-05 he served as a sergeant, then in 2005 Pickett was promoted to lieutenant where he served until his retirement in 2017. From 1990-93 he worked as a Homicide Investigation Police Academy Instructor at Los Medanos College. During his career Picket earned his POST (Peace Officer Standards & Training) Basic, Intermediate, Advanced and Supervisor Management Certificates, served as a Board Member for the Richmond Police Department Management Association, was selected to attend the FBI National Academy in Quantico, VA and honored with the Community Crime Prevention Officer Award. He also served on the boards of Beside the Blue Foundation based in Roseville, CA and the Guardians of Justice in Richmond.

Why Pickett Is Running

Asked why he’s running Pickett shared, “I am running for council because we need action with results. I am passionate about civic duty, participation in community government, and more importantly, improving our city.”

“Antioch is at a crossroad. We face challenges in our leadership, public safety, public education, housing and the overall well-being of our community,” he continued. “We are not on the right path. Not much has changed in the last ten years.”

“We need a councilperson who digs deep into policy and economics. A councilperson with relatable leadership skills to build trustworthy relationships with all members of our community. We need a councilperson who understands the opinions and needs of the community,” Pickett shared. “We need a councilperson that recognizes when a police department needs to adjust and adapt to better serve the community.”

He then took a slight swipe at the incumbent with, “We need a councilperson who returns phone calls and emails. We don’t need a councilperson who simply casts a vote.”

Offers Reasons to Vote for Him

Asked why voters should choose him over the incumbent or the other two candidates Pickett mentioned his police experience and what he will do for public safety.

“Having served as a police lieutenant, I have developed and possess a robust set of skills and leadership experience with a proven track record to move our district forward. I understand the complexity of city government and budgets,” he shared. “I will work with city officials, community members, and our business partners to establish a credible community policing model. A model that allows residents and businesses direct access to their beat officers to address neighborhood quality of life concerns, while enhancing our public safety.”

“I will meet with the District Attorney and other county, state and federal officials to establish a credible community safety partnership for our residents. These partnerships play a significant role in helping reduce violent crimes in our area,” Picket continued.

He also mentioned other issues he will focus on.

“I will work to establish a city beautification plan with street sweeping services, to include a District 4 Code Enforcement Officer with abatement support. This will help restore our neighborhoods, business areas and roadways,” he wrote. “I support smart development, affordable housing options programs that help ensure we recruit a diverse excellent workforce, competitive salaries, fair working conditions, and options for housing that allows all residents to live and thrive in Antioch.”

Pickett also shared about Antioch schools, although the city council has no jurisdiction over them or the curriculum.

“Regarding our schools, I support fiscal responsibility, curriculum that enhances student success, academic support programs, mentoring, and tutoring,” he wrote. “I support state of the art technology, expanding and diversifying science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM) as well as increasing support for students with special needs.”

“My commitment is to excellence in service and improving our community – not a career in politics,” Pickett added.

“I would be honored to have your vote and work with you to make Antioch the best it can be,” he concluded.

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More About Pickett’s Campaign

In addition, in a June 30th post on his campaign Facebook page Pickett wrote,

“Dear Residents of District 4

I am excited to announce my candidacy for the Antioch City Council, District 4 seat. I am passionate about civic duty and participation in community government and more importantly improving public safety in our district. Having served as a Lieutenant of Police for more than 12 years, I have developed and possess a robust set of skills and leadership experience that has made me an ideal candidate.

Throughout the 31 years of my law enforcement experience, I have developed a leadership philosophy that will bring success to my role as your council representative and the greater at large City of Antioch. This philosophy entails the following concepts; emphasis on forward leadership approaches, strong work ethic, personal and professional accountability, encouragement of life long learning, organizational process review and improvements and adherence to the U.S. Constitution and principles of justice.

Together we must develop a comprehensive plan to strengthening our response to Public Safety, Supporting our Schools and District Beautification. Our efforts must include literature that raises awareness regarding strategies that promote our community based efforts.

I support advocating for a dedicated code enforcement officer and abatement team that ensures the consistent and timely abatement of blighted properties and the removal of trash from illegal dumping sites. Further, I support business especially during this time of difficulty presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, and I support attracting new businesses. However there is a significant need for a new smart housing initiative, one that benefits our residents, not the builders, to address future growth in Antioch while insuring a stable school district budget that accommodates future needs.

I am an advocate for meeting the essential public service needs with sound fiscal management utilizing best practices.

I am highly motivated as I seek your support in representing what is most important to you the residents of District 4.

Here are my qualifications: I am a retired police manager and District 4 resident of 29 years. I am a highly trained administrator that understands the complexity of city government, budgets and politics who wants to provide insight and leadership in addressing sensitive issues, and provide problem solving strategies for the most pressing challenges facing the City of Antioch.

My commitment is to excellence in service and improving our community not a career in politics.

It’s time to move away from past mediocrity and strive for future excellence.

Thank you for your support and VOTE.”

Calls for Better Community Policing and Dedicated Code Enforcement Officer for District 4

On August 31, Pickett posted photos of the illegal marijuana bust at several homes in District 4 with his comments about it writing, “Yesterday on a post I asked, ‘What’s the plan to deal with violent crime in District 4 and the greater at large City of Antioch.

What type of environment do we foster where individuals who commit violent crimes throughout the Bay Area feel safe in Antioch.

This morning I was awaken to the sound of a helicopter and a large Federal police presence. They were at two homes in our neighborhood conducting investigations.

We need to start asking our elected officials and our police administrators, What’s the Plan?”

Then in response to the announcement of the seizure of $3.3 million in illegal marijuana from homes in District 4, Pickett posted a comment on his campaign Facebook page in which he wrote, “ANOTHER MULTIPLE LOCATION RAID – District 4  This is deeply troubling.  How long were these organized illegal grows operating before being detected?

How many more organized grow houses are still operating in our neighborhoods?

How can we be expected to say something if we see something when we have no idea who to say it too?

This is why we are in urgent need of establishing a credible Community Policing Model with a dedicated Code Enforcement Officer with blight removal support.”

Pickett Says Comments by Thorpe, Wilson, Torres-Walker on Investigation of Antioch Police Officers Could Cost City Money

Post on his Pickett4Council campaign Facebook page on Sept. 10, 2022.

On Saturday, Sept. 10, Pickett commented on social media responding to the recent Times’ article about two of the Antioch Police officers currently under investigation by the FBI and Contra Costa DA’s office. He wrote, “Happy Saturday District 4

We need a change in LEADERSHIP folks. To keep voting for and financially supporting the same candidates is beyond me. This is not an accident this is a failure of leadership at all levels.

It’s important that our City Leadership respond to this article. My understanding from reading media reports is that the City of Pittsburg Police initiated the investigation. It appears that our city leaders had no clue of the alleged misconduct until they were notified that Antioch police officers were also involved.

So, what independent steps have our Leadership taken to self govern the allegations of criminal activity of its employees? As a resident I would like to know?

Simply cooperating and waiting on the investigation to conclude is alot different than responding to the article.    There are no sides other than RIGHT.”

Asked to clarify his comments Pickett said, “My point is that the city council specific members, like (Mayor) Lamar Thorpe, (Councilwomen) Tamisha (Torres-Walker) and Monica Wilson have been pushing their police reforms. They’re not meaningful. They’re just bloviating.”

“You all have been talking about police investigation instigated by the Pittsburg Police Department, but you didn’t know anything about it. You can’t go around high fiving each other when your department is under investigation by the FBI,” Pickett stated. “You should have done something administratively.”

“You have a bunch of cops still coming to work every day and the mayor, Tamisha and Monica are painting them with a broad brush that they’re all a bunch of bad apples,” Pickett stated. “You don’t wait. You have to conduct an investigation, yourself, an administrative investigation. You don’t have to wait until the FBI investigation is over.”

“If the officers are found innocent, and the council members are making statements that the officers are guilty already, they’re helping these defense attorneys and it’s going to cost the city a lot of money,” he added.

Calls for City Official Code of Conduct in Response to Settlement of Mayor Thorpe’s Sexual Harassment Case

In a post on Saturday, Sept. 17, in response to the last week’s settlement by the county Board of Supervisors in the case of sexual harassment allegations against Thorpe, Pickett posted on his campaign Facebook page writing, “Lack of – A Code of Conduct

An Elected official lack of civility impedes governance in many ways; stalling the decision making process, undermining employee retention and recruitment, fueling political apathy and discouraging public participation. Overtime the standard set for acceptable behavior becomes increasingly lower.

In keeping with policies declared by the legislature each city should have a code of conduct for officials. How does a city government establish legitimacy to prevent conflicts of interest, improve standards of public service, and promote and strengthen the faith and confidence of the people of Antioch without one?

Are we expected to just take their word?

Does the City of Antioch have a Code of Conduct for city officials? If not, WHY? City employees have professional standards, since council members are paid shouldn’t they be subjected to the same professional standards?

Why is the community of Antioch time and time again always flying in the blind regarding significant issues involving our elected officials and city departments.

In the mean time neighbors, while council candidates and our elected officials are giving each other high fives & endorsing each other ask yourself, What have they done to lead our city in a time of tumult?

I know the answer. Do you?

Pickett4Council”

Sued Richmond PD Over Abuse by Chief

Asked about his participation in a lawsuit against the Richmond Police Department. Pickett responded, “Police Chief Chris Magnus was making inappropriate comments toward officers of color. We let him know it’s not right, it’s offensive. Magnus agreed to have a retreat in Napa to work things out.”

But things got worse, and accusations of retaliation arose when people gave their opinions.

“He (Magnus) asked certain people’s opinions about a female officer in the leadership. Then after giving them, they were strong opinions, we all received retaliatory treatment and discrimination in the workplace,” Pickett explained.

He was one of seven members of the command staff to sue in state court.

“They offered us a $3.1 million settlement, but two thought their case was each worth that amount, so, that offer went out the window,” Pickett continued.

He and the remaining four other officers sued in federal court. They settled their case and signed a non-disclosure agreement.

“News reports came out that it was about Magnus being gay, but that had nothing to do with it,” Pickett stated.

“We stood up for what is right, against retaliation and discrimination in the workplace. I went through it for almost six years,” he added.

Was Not Recruited by Torres-Walker, Decided on His Own to Run

Asked about the rumored that Torres-Walker had recruited him to run, he said, “No. I knew her as a police lieutenant from being in Richmond. I didn’t know she lived in Antioch for eight years before being elected to the council.”

“That wouldn’t make any sense, as I’m pretty sure she’s supporting Monica,” he added.

Asked if anyone had asked him to run Pickett said, “I had been contemplating it as a District 4 resident thinking about how the needs of the district have not been addressed. I had people come to me and ask for my advice about problems in our district and I thought, instead of complaining I would do something about it and run.”

For more information about Pickett’s campaign visit pickett4council.squarespace.com or on Facebook @pickett4council.

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