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Our Department encourages suggestions and feedback from the community we serve and will continue to do so. Many of the ideas we use in Community Engagement have come directly from community suggestions. In addition, streamlining overnight permission to park and development of the Mission of the Department are additional examples.
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The Mayor, Council and members of the Management Team have met with representatives from both of this group to discuss the proposal. The proposal presents recommendations for police reforms, many of which are being discussed within the larger context of reform work related to the SHPD. We anticipate that the suggestions contained in the proposal will positively influence the work of the City throughout our comprehensive evaluation of police policies and reform work.
Full question: The community has expressed fear of the police despite efforts to make inroads in community engagement. An obvious solution to this is reducing the police that carry guns to the absolute essential cases such as a report of a violent gunman. Would you be open to creating a police task force for traffic/non-violent crime that would not carry guns?
Answer: We are unable to support this suggestion. The safety of officers and the public precludes such support. In many cases, calls for service don’t provide the full context for the situation, so it would be too risky for the officers to respond without being fully prepared for what they may encounter.
Full question: In providing context for how difficult it is for officers to conduct traffic stops, is officer Dunn perhaps insinuating that we should explore shifting that responsibility to unarmed public works officers as Berkeley, CA. City Council has recently done?
Answer: No. Officer Dunn was explaining how he educates the public so that they can better understand how their behavior affects the way officers respond during interactions with the police.
Full question: What alternatives exist in Shaker to calling an armed officer to respond to conflict? Is there a mediation program available or are there social service organizations that will respond to community problems?
Answer: When a resident feels it is necessary to call SHPD in regard to what they consider a conflict, officers will arrive armed, as they do to every call for service for reasons explained above. There isn’t a mediation program or social service agency that provides services described here, but SHPD officers are trained and aware of how and when to call upon specific social service organizations for additional assistance.
Full question: Who have you been listening to and what have you been reading to help you think innovatively about what policing needs to be in modern society? If you have not yet done so, please consider listening to an interview with Christy Lopez, Professor and co-leader of Georgetown Law’s Program on Innovative Policing. Link is attached below. https://www.cityclub.org/forums/2020/07/17/what-does-it-mean-to-defund-the-police.
Answer: The Supervision, Command Staff, and Officers of the Police Department read, listen and learn from a wide variety of resources to help shape the Department to be more innovative in our responsiveness to our community needs. In addition, they have attended and will continue to attend short and long-term professional training in search of learning and to reach a better understanding modern policing. We appreciate the suggestion concerning Professor Lopez’s podcast at The City Club of Cleveland and will review its contents.
Police reform is extraordinarily important and complex, and as a result takes time. While we have been engaged in transformation for many years, we know that many opportunities to improve and innovate still exist. Effective and lasting change requires resources, and well-thought-out approaches, which we are committed to. We are actively engaged in this process and hope you will stay up to date about our progress by visiting the police webpage which will be updated as we implement changes.
We can assure you that we are dedicated to meaningful and positive reform no matter the timeline for its implantation and recognize the importance of efficiency.
We are committed to ongoing evaluation and updating of police policies and practices and consider this a constant work in progress. We believe a modern police department is one that works in partnership with the community to respond to its specific needs and expectations. Community input, directives from the Governor, and requirements from our accreditation agency, CALEA, will continue to guide our work.
We always listen to input from teens. It helps us understand how policies and practices impact them. However, due to complex process for changing practices and policies, often involving our accrediting agency, we can’t point directly to a policy or practice that we’ve changed solely due to a conversation with a teen.