The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement has brought a heightened awareness of racism and bias in our daily lives and police practises. My view, which is shared by many others, is that the Mountain View Police Department (MVPD) is better than most and has had good leadership. MVPD upholds Mountain View’s sanctuary city status and has interacted positively with the community at BLM events. But even our police chief, Max Bosel, says there is always room for improvement. I want to embrace this opportunity of heightened awareness now.
The City has begun this work and as a Councilmember, I will push to:
- Examine the discrepancy between our community’s demographics and the statistics of who is stopped and/or arrested. Currently people of color are stopped and arrested in disproportionate numbers.
- Establish a Citizen’s Advisory Board for the police like many of our neighboring communities. To be effective, we must provide the advisory group with resources and time needed to become our local subject matter experts. Those resources will likely include funding outside experts on policing to help understand best practices and policies. Many questions about scope, authority and transparency will have to be worked out.
- Reassess whether or not police should be the first responders for mental health related emergencies. It may be better to assign this to social workers or have social workers accompany the police on mental health emergencies.
- Evaluate community policing with homeless residents.
- Consider changes to the MVPD budget related to any reduction of duties. MVPD has a budget of $44.8 million for FY19-20 which is 31% of the total City budget.
- Reform MVPDs policies to meet “8 can’t wait” policies, AND
- Make sure the MVPD or other staff have the training they need to do their jobs well.