Letter: People Power Supports Fundamental Change to Davis Policing Model

Davis Police Car

Davis Police Car

Yolo People Power is grateful to those Davis City Council Members and Candidates who have publicly supported fundamental change from the current policing model, to a new Public Safety System.  Thank you Councilmember Will Arnold for the call to “reimagine, redesign and repurpose our public safety system” and for acknowledging “our brothers and sisters in the Black community and other people of color, whose lives have for centuries been devalued, dehumanized or simply ended by the very institutions charged with their safety.”  This naming of racism in our institutions and policing culture is a historic first step.  Clarifying what we want and how to deliver it is the work we must fervently undertake.

Davis residents are questioning their assumptions about policing and asking what situations truly require an armed police response.  Parents in our community have been horrified that their children were met by officers in riot gear with tear gas canisters when they courageously marched for justice.  A recent analysis of five years of arrest data supplied by the Davis Police Department indicated that only about 13% were crimes against a person.  We have learned from the Human Relations Commission study and the 2018 Attard/Olson study that people of color have a different experience of policing in Davis than the white members of our community.  We also believe there is now consensus, between our police officers and the community, that they are not appropriate responders for most homeless and mental health calls.  Regardless of the amount of training provided to armed officers, they are fundamentally the wrong profession to calm situations and to help individuals receive the help they need.

As a small city, we have the challenge of addressing wholistic safety.  Our governmental infrastructure is limited, and we depend on Yolo County for social, public health, mental health, and behavioral health services. We commend the council for supporting homeless outreach and mental health specialists, but the temporary placement of these roles within the police department must remain temporary.  Increasing programs under the police department is a mistake.

We need a new system designed by the people it is meant to protect.  A system where the public is at the top of the organizational chart.  In short, a system that is designed from the ground up to serve ALL of the members of the community of which it is a part.  Please do not entertain any name changes until the system of public safety is fully reimagined and redesigned and can be administered from a public safety model.


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23 Comments

  1. Alan Miller

    We commend the council for supporting homeless outreach and mental health specialists, but the temporary placement of these roles within the police department must remain temporary.  Increasing programs under the police department is a mistake.

    I fundamentally disagree with this.  My concern is that there is often crossover between homeless/mental-health issues and safety.  The extreme example would be sending an unarmed mental-health worker to a domestic violence situation and having it go bad, putting everyone at risk.  That’s the extreme, but there are so many shades of grey in between.  When we had the three semi-merged, out-of-control encampments on the south side of our neighborhood in April and May, it wasn’t ‘poor destitute homeless people who lost their jobs and couldn’t afford the rent’, it was mentally-ill, hoarding-excessive, bike-thieves, meth-heads and drug dealers.  Confirmed to us that all contacted had been arrested for drug crimes and most had been arrested for violent offenses as well.

    Should homeless workers be dispatched to these sites without backup?  Possibly, but the best way to have quick backup is to have the call in the same department.  Creating an entirely new bureaucracy is the oldest trick in the book for government to look like it’s making reforms, but it just creates a new entity of government that is less likely to be able to coordinate between functions and needlessly increases duplicative admin costs.  I think the Davis model with un-sworn officers doing homeless outreach and mental health functions is a good model for today.  Perhaps we can revisit that – but let’s let other cities make the progress and the mistakes.

    Is there racial issues in Davis policing?  Of course there is, just as everywhere.  No matter how you restructure it, rename it, shake it up, juice it, prune it, starve it, fatten it up, tear it down — Davis will have sworn deputies that carry guns, and some of them will have racial bias.  This isn’t the way to solve that.

    I am very much for reform.  I’d start by making police (and all public) unions illegal.  I’d start by doing whatever could be done to reduce any tendency towards officers covering up the mistakes of bad officers.  I’d destroy the system that allows bad officers (past some threshold) to transfer to a new department – a disgusting practice in the public safety profession.  I’d do everything possible to change any remaining militaristic culture to one of de-escalation.  I’d have public review boards, with extreme cautions that they can’t be structured to become witch-hunt mobs.  I’d make part of basic salary a house in the town in which one polices (or teaches), so they are part of the community.

    I’d also recommend that some other cities be allowed to make mistakes and advances, so we aren’t the guinea pig of these changes.  Models are going to be tried all over.  Davis has already done a good job of re-structuring it’s department — let’s let others do the further experiments and see what works.  This process won’t happen overnight, but the unrest has exposed the need for change, so let’s acknowledge the need and also acknowledge that Davis has already made many positive changes so we don’t trip over ourselves trying to un-Police Davis in a rush.

    Please do not entertain any name changes until the system of public safety is fully reimagined and redesigned and can be administered from a public safety model.

    There will always be a governing armed force.  Ironically, in CHAZ/CHOP, there were borders, barricades, ID checks for ‘residency’, exclusion, a self-appointed security force, and few murders to boot.  Where there is a vacuum, an armed security presence will fill the void, whether it be police, gangs, organized-crime, Fred-the-gated-neighborhood-security-watch-guy, or a newly-named government force.  So renaming a government agency isn’t necessarily a cure.

    I’ve managed to pˆss off both the reformers and the police unions in one post.  It’s a good day.

  2. Chris Griffith

    You know I’m beginning to think we should disband the police and the sheriff’s office and the highway patrol release everybody from State prison and of course teardown that big wall so all illegal aliens can come into the United States and give them all health Care what the heck. I also think we should put liberals in control they can go around and take care of all those homeless people and all those mentally ill people and I’ll just get my lawn chair go sit outside and watch the fun.

    we should make all Unions illegal in the state of California that includes teachers unions police unions janitorial Unions.

    I also believe the BLM should also tear  down the state capitol building that is after they tear down all the statues in the whole state of California.

     

     

     

    1. Alan Miller

      and I’ll just get my lawn chair go sit outside and watch the fun.

      Careful . . . in Davis you might get arrested for ‘lawn chairing while white’.

  3. Chris Griffith

    And one more thing who is Yolo people power? who’s the head coach and who are the teammates of this organization? how many members do they have?

    Just curious 😊

        1. Chris Griffith

          True 😄 I think you’re right it is an alternative power source then I think the pollution that it is causing is going to destroy Life as we know it today 😊

    1. David Greenwald

      Yolo People Power is the local wing of the People Power organization, its a grass roots mobilization platform started and loosely affiliated with the ACLU. In Davis, they took the lead after the Picnic Day incident in 2017 to push for police reform.

  4. Chris Griffith

    If you step back and look at what’s going on in the great state of California it’s like watching the movie Idiocracy. For those of you that haven’t seen the movie I think it’s a must-see especially for everybody that lives in Davis. 😊

    1. Alan Miller

      The weird thing is the world in that movie was supposed to be set 500 years in the future from 2005, not 15 years as has proven the case.

    2. Alan Miller

      As I am . . . but clearly the point is the degree to which society is going in that was-supposed-to-be-a-joke direction without the seeming self-reflection or a self-societal ability to laugh at — and therefore have the ability to save — itself.

       

      1. Alan Miller

        a self-societal ability to laugh at — and therefore have the ability to save — itself.

        Beautifully illustrated by the fact that most comedians won’t play colleges anymore.

        1. Alan Miller

          No comedians, no conservatives . . .

          . . . just myself reflecting back one’s own beliefs through one’s social media sources.

          The Hive Brain – by Chris Chandler  [excerpt]

          I ban who I want to from my universe,

          and admit only those I desire.

          Creating a cult of clones.

          Building Berlin Walls,

          Great Walls of China,

          Mexican Border walls

          of the soul.

          I can read more newspapers than anyone before me,

          but with every article I read,

          the next is more narrowly tailored to me,

          and the next …

          based on what I last read.

          The ads I see – tailored to me. 

           

          I am drowning in a sea of me.

           

          My body of knowledge is growing…

          thinner…

          Just as as a soap bubble expands…

          it gets larger…

          However, as it expands

          its walls grow thinner.

  5. Chris Griffith

    Time will tell whether I’m a bit dramatic or not and of course the articles  the Davis vanguard posts.

    Keep up the good work I love reading the Davis vanguard.

  6. Rick Entrikin

    David, I believe you should retract (i.e., remove) the Yolo People Power letter until it is accompanied by the actual names of the people who signed the letter, as submitted to you or, even better, those individuals who can sign as representatives of “Yolo People Power.”  Since everyone else who comments on The Vanguard is required to use their actual names, the same should be required of YPP and other groups.   Please, follow your own rules.

    1. David Greenwald

      We’ve always allowed organizations to submit. Larry Guenther read the letter last night on behalf of them at the Police Accountability Commission meeting.

      1. Ron Glick

        I wonder who they are too. Is there a reason they don’t want to be identified? Couldn’t those who are willing to put names on it say who they are while leaving the other names off? Is nobody willing to sign their name?

        1. David Greenwald

          I don’t know that they don’t want to be identified. I was sent the email on Monday, told that it would be read at public comment and they asked me to run it as an op-ed.

  7. Chris Griffith

    I researched this YOLO people power movement on Facebook and they’re amazingly large they have 65 likes.

    I wonder who those 65 people are that like them? Hmmm I feel a huge movement coming😄

    1. Bill Marshall

      I feel a huge movement coming (see big, grinning emoticon)

      Visit the porcelain god!   Soon!  (see big, grinning, winking, emoticon)

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