Police Reform

There are no two ways about it: Our police and our communities remain at odds. It doesn’t have to be that way. The last several years, police reform has become more about accolades and pats on the back than about real change—and recent tragedies prove that that simply is not enough. It is incredible and beyond words that the circumstances that surrounded Charleena Lyles’s death are still possible in our city seven years after the shooting of John T. Williams.

There is no doubt we need a continued emphasis on training for cultural competence, de-escalation, and community policing. We also need to hire more officers representative of the communities they serve. Efforts toward more inclusive hiring practices have been thwarted by both the Mayor and City Council, and the lack of transparency in the ongoing SPOG negotiations have deepened the division between citizens and sworn officers. For all of the discussion about “rebuilding trust,” there has been insufficient action toward that end.

The fact is, we’re all on the same side—the side of safe, thriving communities—and we must take progressive steps toward our shared goals, including:

  • Strengthening civilian oversight and involvement in policing through the CPC and other channels

  • Auditing the sources of training our police officers receive to ensure they’re maximally inclusive and emphasise harm-reduction

  • Mandatory training updates for officers of all levels to ensure they are educated on the most current best practices and cultural awareness

  • Priority hiring elements which facilitate a more diverse police force

  • Transparent and timely disciplinary actions for when officers do not follow training or department protocol, such as carrying non-lethal force options when on the beat.

  • Implementing body cameras on our officers - to help hold our officers accountable and to exonerate them from inaccurate accusations - instead of the constant delays we’ve seen over the past three years.

  • Successfully implement and complete the federal consent decree.