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    Barry's Avatar
    Barry
    Founder & Moderator

    Sebastopl City council plans 2 special public Zoom meetings on police use of force/funding



    City council plans two special public Zoom meetings on police use of force and funding
    By Laura Hagar Rush, Sonoma West Editor, [email protected]

    Two special public Zoom meetings on the issues of police use of force and police funding are scheduled for Tuesday, June 23, and Tuesday, June 30.

    The first half of the Sebastopol City Council meeting on Tuesday, June 16, was devoted to a discussion of a special public meeting to discuss police policies and procedures in light of the current demonstrations surrounding the death of George Floyd, a black man killed by a policeman in Minneapolis.

    The action began with a request by Councilmember Michael Carnacchi to move a budget item off the consent agenda because it involved a $100,000 expenditure for police services, which in light of demands to “defund the police” was suddenly a topic of contention.

    That done, Mayor Patrick Slayter and Vice Mayor Una Glass gave extensive introductions before unveiling their proposal for a public meeting on the topic of police use of force.

    Slayter began by saying, “We were trying to figure out how we could facilitate a community discussion, and how we would want to proceed with evaluating how police services are delivered in Sebastopol, and the overriding thing that we keep coming back to is that the police services need to reflect the values of the residents of the citizens of Sebastopol,” he said.

    After copping to her own white privilege and giving a shout out to protestors — some of whom were present virtually for the meeting — Glass said she took the topic of police use of force extremely seriously because ultimately it was a life or death issue — something rare in local politics.

    She then outlined some of the questions she hoped the meeting would answer.

    “Should we be reviewing police policies and procedures in light of Sebastopol community values and law enforcement best practices?” she asked. “Should we have an internal police audit that audits our police activities and expenditures and compliance with existing policies? Should we review internal issues that have led to disciplinary actions and the relationship between management and our police staff. Should we engage in a detailed audit to determine how funds are spent? … How are we spending our law enforcement time? Should we review the criteria for recruiting a new police chief.” (Greg Devore is currently the acting chief of police.) “Should we review the criteria we're using for recruiting our officers and what our recruitment materials say and what do they look like? What kind of training is our police department getting? Do we need different training? And last, do we need to discuss whether the city should have either a Citizens Advisory Commission, or a citizens Review Commission? These are the kind of things that can be on the table.”

    Councilmember Sarah Gurney chimed in with her own list of questions.

    “I'd like to hear a lot from the police chief about our use of force for crowd management practices and what they think of as community policing. What kind of bias awareness training, do they have? Do they have training in de-escalation and restorative justice? Do they do outreach? Is there some citizen complaint process and how transparent is that?” she asked.

    Gurney suggested that the complexity of the issue probably called for two meetings, to which everyone readily agreed.

    Glass and Slayter said they’d identified a potential facilitator for the event, Jerry Threet — a Sebastopol-based attorney and former head of IOLERO, a county watchdog organization that is supposed to provide community oversight over the sheriff’s office.

    During their discussions, all of the councilmembers mentioned that they’d been deluged by emails this week on the question of police use of force.

    Slayter said the great majority of email messages he’d received titled “Defund the Police” are really about “reapportioning funds and coming up with a different way to deliver the services that are more appropriate” though he did allow that “the most staunch voices, who are saying to ‘Defund the police,’ actually mean eliminate all law enforcement, and I suppose, ban all laws, which seems really strange to me and not really much of a way to run a society.”

    Ultimately, the council unanimously approved setting up two special public Zoom meetings on the issue of police use-of-force, scheduled for Tuesday, June 23, and Tuesday, June 30.

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  2. TopTop #2
    Barry's Avatar
    Barry
    Founder & Moderator

    Re: Sebastopl City council plans 2 special public Zoom meetings on police use of force/fun

    The first meeting agenda, which is rather detailed, has been posted. See it here. The online meeting is set for Tuesday June 23rd and 7pm

    "This meeting is for planning our next steps in facilitating more community input and collecting more specific information about the City’s law enforcement policies and procedures."

    The actual discussion of the police policies will occur at the second meeting, Tuesday, June 30th at 6pm.


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    luke32
     

    Re: Sebastopl City council plans 2 special public Zoom meetings on police use of force/fun

    Very good article showing what can happen if you cut back police services:


    This California city defunded its police force. Killings by officers soared.

    By Peter Jamison
    June 23, 2020

    Twelve years ago, officials in Vallejo, Calif., reluctantly took a step that activists are now urging in cities across the country: They defunded their police department.

    Unable to pay its bills after the 2008 financial crisis, Vallejo filed for bankruptcy and cut its police force nearly in half — to fewer than 80 officers, from a pre-recession high of more than 150. At the time, the working-class city of 122,000 north of San Francisco struggled with high rates of violent crime and simmering mistrust of its police department. It didn’t seem like things could get much worse.

    And then they did. Far from ushering in a new era of harmony between police and the people they are sworn to protect, the budget cuts worsened tensions between the department and the community and were followed by a dramatic surge in officers’ use of deadly force. Since 2009 the police have killed 20 people, an extraordinarily high number for such a small city. In 2012 alone, officers fatally shot six suspects. Nearly a third of the city’s homicides that year were committed by law enforcement.

    Continues here
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    Re: Sebastopl City council plans 2 special public Zoom meetings on police use of force/fun

    That's an awful story, for sure. But doesn't really apply to us here in Sebastopol which has a very low crime rate, no gangs, etc. And I think what folks are saying is we don't want to just cut the budget but to apply some of those police funds to things like social services, more community building, etc. Sounds like Vallejo simply cut back on police and left the community in chaos.

    Quote luke32 wrote: View Post
    Very good article showing what can happen if you cut back police services:

    This California city defunded its police force. Killings by officers soared.
    Continues here
    Last edited by Barry; 06-24-2020 at 10:10 AM.
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    jesswolfe's Avatar
    jesswolfe
     

    Re: Sebastopl City council plans 2 special public Zoom meetings on police use of force/fun

    I can't read the article but let's be really clear about defunding. If you have no accountability and no clear strong direction from the community, of course it's not going to end well. It means undoing and redirecting a very ingrained culture. It also means actually funding services that should be done by others.

    I would recommend a podcast about how they changed policing in Camden, NJ.
    https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcas...=1000478444174
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    Sebastopol Outreach's Avatar
    Sebastopol Outreach
     

    Re: Sebastopl City council plans 2 special public Zoom meetings on police use of force/fun

    Here is a link to the recording of the June 23 meeting: https://bit.ly/CC062320
    The June 30 meeting will start at 6:00 PM and will also be facilitated via Zoom.
    The agenda and information on how to participate will be posted to the Meetings page of the City's website prior to the meeting. Because this is a special meeting outside of the normal City Council meeting schedule, information isn't posted there yet. It should be there within the next day or so.
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    Barry's Avatar
    Barry
    Founder & Moderator

    Re: Sebastopl City council plans 2 special public Zoom meetings on police use of force/fun


    City meeting on police policy and race attracts large virtual crowd
    By Laura Hagar Rush, Sonoma West Editor, [email protected] Jun 24, 2020


    This is part 1 of a 2-part article

    Ninety-nine people, a near record number of participants, showed up for the city of Sebastopol’s first meeting on police policy and race last night.

    Mayor Patrick Slayter kicked things off by saying, "What we want to work on tonight is designing the process of how we want to analyze where we are and where we want to go.”

    After saying he was sorry that a single department — the police department — was under scrutiny that night, Slayter said that the city’s goal was to have all city departments, including the police, be “in close alignment with the values of the community.”


    “We’re not here in an accusatorial way; we’re not here for culpability; we’re not here for blame-placing,” he said. “What we are here to do is start the process of education in order to get the services that we desire in alignment with the values that we hold as a community.”

    Vice Mayor Una Glass got down to particulars.

    “Just about everybody in the nation has been appalled by what they've seen, starting with the George Floyd episode and others. There's been a huge reaction of many people throughout the nation and that includes people on our police force that are also appalled and upset. So, what we're doing here is making sure that an incident like that never happens on our watch.”

    Acting Police Chief Greg Devore decided to use this moment to give a personal explanation of his own journey in law enforcement and his own reaction of shock after watching the video of George Floyd’s murder at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer.

    “I was horrified,” Devore said. “It made me — I'm just gonna say it — ashamed to be a police officer. So I just want you to know I'm with you, I hear you and I want to work with the public to make sure that nothing like that happens in this city.”

    The evening’s main speaker was attorney Jerry Threet, a Sebastopol resident and the former director of IALERO, which provides civilian oversight for the sheriff's department. In addition Threet was a deputy city attorney for San Francisco and also worked for the Department of Justice. He has an extensive background in community organizing around the issue of police oversight.

    Threet began by laying out some central questions.

    “The key question that's been posited here is, ‘Are the values of our Sebastopol community reflected in the policies, practices, procedures and trainings of our police department?’ It's a really great question, and it breaks down into a couple of pieces.”

    “First of all, what are the values of our Sebastopol community with regard to policing? I don't think we should make assumptions about what those values are. We should ask ourselves another question: How do we find out those values? Once we get a handle on that, we have to match them up with the current policies, practices and procedures and training of the Sebastopol police department. So how do we find out exactly what the state of the police department is with regard to those things? That's a second question.

    “Once we have those two pieces of the puzzle, we're going to be asking a different question: Should we do something to change or transform our police department in the way it operates to reflect community values? And if so, how should we do that? And underlying all of that is, what processes can be used to gather the information we need to answer these questions and make that decision?”

    Question #1: What are the community’s values with regard to policing?

    Threet suggested several ways to go...

    Continues here

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