New: Ensuring Police Accountability - Join us October 31st!

Councilmember Kate Harrison
Monday October 30, 2017 - 08:09:00 PM

At next Tuesday’s Berkeley City Council meeting, the Council will consider legislation from our office directing the City Manager to require that all uses of force by the Berkeley Police Department are captured and analyzed with a goal of continuing de-escalation (item number 26 on the agenda). While we have an excellent police department that has already been taking steps to achieve improvements, it is critical that the Council help to guide and inform their efforts with a set of broad principles and requirements for the purpose of enhancing our use of force policy. The legislation is cosponsored by Mayor Arreguín and Councilmembers Bartlett and Worthington. 

In addition, Councilmember Kriss Worthington and I are sponsoring legislation that seeks to address disparities in policing across communities (Item 28 on the agenda) and to create a ballot initiative to enhance the Berkeley Police Review Commission (Item 29 on the agenda). 

Please join me next week in asking the Council to pass these items. Please note that the Council will likely address the item later in the evening. Signs are permitted. 

If you're not able to attend this Public Hearing e-mail your comments to council@cityofberkeley.info or to specific Councilmembers. 


You can read the item here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bx4Ye7pmqiQ4MExabE1HZzRNY28/view 


More about this item: The Department’s use of force policies guide every officer in their day-to-day interactions with the community. Our department has already been taking steps to achieve improvements to existing policy. It is critical that the Council help to guide these efforts with a set of broad principles and requirements. For example, the current policy does not require comprehensive reporting when force is used. The legislation: 

  1. Enshrines de-escalation as a goal;
  2. Clarifies what constitutes use of force;
  3. Requires that all uses of force be reported;
  4. Categorizes uses of force into levels to facilitate continuing de-escalation;
  5. Requires incidents to be captured in a manner that allows for analysis; and
  6. Requires that the Department prepare an annual analysis report relating to use of force to be submitted to the Police Review Commission (“PRC”) and Council.
The item in no way impedes the work of our police officers. It gives the City Manager and Department significant latitude in shaping the final policy. However, the people’s voices should be heard and it is appropriate that the City Council help guide these efforts to update our policies. The City of Berkeley has an opportunity to proactively update its policies. This item is a step in that direction. 

Since the San Francisco Police Department has begun implementing more than 200 recommendations made by the Department of Justice, including those related to use of force policies, SFPD has reported an 11% decrease in use of force incidents and a nearly 9% decrease in complaints to the San Francisco Department of Police Accountability.