Sacramento, June 26 (Punjab Mail) Previously, I spoke about the relationship between African Americans and law enforcement. I discussed how the opinions African Americans hold about law enforcement are generally based on their and other’s first-hand and perceived experiences with the police.
The current state of policing, coupled with current events regarding racial injustice, have caused us to reflect on how law enforcement should evolve. Many State and National proposals are in progress, including the elimination of qualified immunity for officers. Other proposals, commonly known as “Defund the Police,” look to reallocate or redirect funding away from the local police department to other government agencies funded by the local municipality. The police department should remain intact. However, City funds should also be allocated to agencies that help to address mental health, domestic violence, human assistance, and homelessness.
While recognizing the need to adequately fund the police department, the City has a duty to fund the police budget at a level that ensures the funding for a force that can adequately and efficiently fulfill the department’s operations. The police budget could include the reallocation of resources to other organizations that are currently addressing the issues of mental health, domestic violence, human assistance, and homelessness.
The goal is to create a more harmonious relationship between law enforcement and the community through transparency and accountability. To achieve this goal, I propose three ordinance amendments:
The Standard Business Card
As I have stated before, transparency and accountability can be quickly established when residents know who is policing their respective neighborhoods. To achieve this end, I am proposing a City ordinance that requires every police officer to automatically provide a business card to individuals who are stopped for any reason. The business card would contain the officer’s name, badge number, an 800 number with a statement that says, “How’s my policing?” Additionally, the statement and the 800 number should be posted on the rear and both sides of all police vehicles. The 800 number should be user-friendly and contain simple prompts for the caller to provide feedback. The caller information should be automatically recorded and stored with the Sacramento Community Police Review Commission and the Sacramento Police Department.
Citywide Website Identifying Officers by Council District or Police Service Area
This proposed amendment would mandate the creation of a citywide website, or modify the Sacramento Police Department’s website, to identify police officers by the Sacramento Police Department Service Areas or by Sacramento City Council District. The website should include a basic biography and photo for each officer, similar that used for City Councilmembers. These small biographies will make it easier for residents to know, understand, and connect with the police officers serving their respective communities.
Mandatory Suspension for Shooting Unarmed and Non-Threatening Persons
This proposed amendment would provide for mandatory, unpaid suspension for officers who shoot unarmed and non-threating persons. The intent of the suspension is to discourage the use of force, to end the unnecessary killing of unarmed individuals, and prevent officers from shooting individuals in the back.
I believe if transparency, accountability, and good community relations are genuinely desired, these are positive and efficient steps in that direction.