As we look to reimagine Police Reform from a Black Agenda perspective, two questions must first be asked:
Given the reality that incremental Police Reform has not prevented unwarranted violence against black men and women, how do we change policing to reduce the number of interactions between weaponized police and members of our communities?
What alternative ways of promoting Public Safety and well-being exist that would be more effective than using weaponized police officers?
Based on those pivotal questions, a couple of key conceptual ideas should guide our approach:
Create an ongoing framework for change, and Gain some community power of oversight over the SMPD via a Civilian Oversight and Transparency Commission (comprised of community members that reflect the ethnicity and socioeconomic background)
The following key points addresses issues from a short- and long-term perspective:
- Comprehensive vetting in the hiring of sworn officers (verifying Social Media, previous work history, psych exam, etc…)
- Promote community-oriented policing with new initiatives.
- Update the Use of Force Policy to reflect best practices for community-oriented policing.
- Promote community oversight and involvement in co-producing public safety by creating an oversight and reform commission, including funding its current year budget by reallocation from the current SMPD budget. (In addition, each of the local community boards should have representation on a Steering Committee for the City, thereby uniting all local community boards.)
- Develop a Restorative Justice and Healing Project, similar to the African American Community Policing Academy. Fund this year’s effort with $xxx, from the SMPD budget.
- Promote ongoing dialogue programs between the SMPD and the black community. Fund that effort.
- Commit a continued study of reimagining policing and provide the staff support and committee/commission structure to do so.
- Fund a historical research effort and publish the results and have a public dialogue concerning the history of racism in Santa Monica. (I know some of this exists already, but widely publicizing and discussing would be helpful).