Public Comment

Cops for Sale! - Equipment for Free! Black Lives Matter, but Yoga Pants Matter More

Carol Denney
Saturday May 05, 2018 - 10:34:00 PM

Lululemon paid more than $72,198.58 straight into Berkeley police officers' pockets over the fall of 2017. And they're still paying. It was up to $39,934.71 by March of this year for the sometimes two officers twiddling their thumbs right outside their 4th Street where doubling the average price of leggings turned out to be a bright idea worth over two billion dollars in annual revenue last year alone. 

Apple is in on the game, too; in addition to their own security guards, they spent over $33,908.75 through 2016's holiday season on 4th Street. They've had some spectacular thefts of laptops and high-end equipment, and although it might be hard to make the same case about the worth of sports bras and leggings, both companies measure their net worth in the billions. 

But it goes without saying that they can afford their own security without the sweet deal they're getting from the Berkeley Police Department, the brain child of new Police Chief Andrew Greenwood and presumably City Manager Dee Ridley-Williams, who have apparently no objection to bumping what used to be around $5,000 in holiday security costs under previous administrations up into the $100,000 range because, after all, it's Christmas. 

It must be the sweetest beat in town - voluntary overtime hovering at around $100 per hour in short or in eight-hour shifts watching the yoga crowd wander by. And the city's police equipment is free. No charge for the sparkling new police cars, the wear and tear on police uniforms and equipment. Apparently these city resources, according to department invoices, are free. 

Which leaves a neighborhood nearby that lost three young black men to gunfire within the last ten years wondering - could we just have the cop cars? And maybe the uniforms? Okay, the police radios, too. The police, well, we're not so sure they're all that useful in our neighborhood without some accountability, but until they boot the Copley decision could we just have the empty police cars sitting nearby? 

Paying eight hours of $100 overtime day after day won't really work for our budget. But we already paid for the city's equipment through our taxes so hey, if the police cars and other equipment are free, send us the sign-up sheet. The public records act request which asked if this new policy reflected an assessment regarding community-wide priorities and needs came up with zero, so this 4th Street prioritization hits us right in the Black Lives Matter.