Sacramento, June 16 (Punjab Mail) – Councilmember Allen Wayne Warren on June 16 released the following statement regarding Police Officer accountability and transparency.
“Currently, the African American community feels that policing in America is prone to abuse. Therefore, they distrust the police. All too often, African Americans put all the police in one box labeled ‘the police are generally bad for black people.’ However, not all officers are bad; so, the good officers get painted with the same brush as the bad officers.
The opinions African Americans hold about the police are generally based on their and other’s first-hand and perceived experiences with law enforcement. These opinions continue because members of the African American community know little to nothing about the individuals who police them, the police department, or law enforcement procedures. In most cases, African Americans cannot distinguish one officer from another. A recent survey of 100 African Americans in Sacramento revealed that only four people knew the names of five or more officers.
The current system of policing has many problems, however, two apparent issues stand in the way of fair policing. One problem is officers who take a good, honest, and balanced approach to policing are not given credit for their excellent behavior. The second problem is officers who have complaints filed against them are allowed to continuing working on the force with little to no consequence and, in some instances, get promoted.
One way to create a more harmonious relationship between the police and the community is through increased transparency and accountability. Transparency and accountability allow the community to evaluate officers and provide information on an officer’s performance. This approach offers residents an opportunity to provide positive or negative feedback about a police officer’s performance. This kind of feedback could be useful in determining who should or who should not stay on the force as well as who should or should not be promoted.
Transparency and accountability can be quickly established as it is practiced in the private sector on a regular basis by companies like Uber, Lyft, Yelp, Staples, Starbucks, etc. Many other public and private agencies have a phone number and a phrase that asks things like, ‘How’s my driving?’
To increase accountability and transparency, I am proposing the following:
- The City Council pass an ordinance requiring every police officer to automatically give a business card to anyone who is stopped for any reason.
- The business card should contain the name and badge number of the officer.
- The business card should also contain an 800 number along with a statement that says, ‘How’s my policing?’
- The 800 number and the statement, ‘How’s my policing?’ should also be printed on the sides and the rear of the police vehicle.
- The 800 number should contain simple prompts for the caller to provide feedback.
- The information from the calls should be automatically stored with the Sacramento Community Police Review Commission and the Sacramento Police Department.
If transparency, accountability, and good community relations are truly desired, this is a good step in that direction.”