SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — After hours of emotional public testimony and a middle-of-the-night vote by Berkeley leaders, the progressive California city is moving forward with a novel proposal to replace police with unarmed civilians during traffic stops in a bid to curtail racial profiling.
The City Council early Wednesday approved a police reform proposal that calls for a public committee to hash out details of a new Berkeley Police Department that would not respond to calls involving people experiencing homelessness or mental illness. The committee also would pursue creating a separate department to handle transportation planning and enforcing parking and traffic laws.
ADVERTISEMENTThe council voted for the committee to find ways to eventually cut the Police Department’s budget by half and approved an analysis of police calls and spending.A tired but excited Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin said he doesn’t expect a new transportation department overnight because conversations will be hard and detailed with complicated logistics to figure out. But he said communities of color in his city feel targeted by police and that needs to change.
“There may be situations where police do need to intervene, and so we need to look at all that,” he said. “We need to look at if we do move traffic enforcement out of the Police Department, what does that relationship look like and how will police officers work in coordination with unarmed traffic enforcement personnel?”
It’s believed the plan to separate traffic enforcement from police is the first of its kind in the U.S. and comes as many cities seek broad public safety reforms, including reducing law enforcement budgets, following the May 25 death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police. Fans of the proposal cheered its passage even as some called for greater cuts to police.
It could take months, even years, to create a new department, but police and other law enforcement experts rebuked the idea as dangerous, not only for traffic safety but for the people tasked with pulling over drivers, who they say can be dangerous.“I think what Berkeley is doing is nuts,” said Mark Cronin, a director with the Los Angeles Police Protective League, a union for officers. “I think it’s a big social experiment. I think it’s going to fail and it’s not going to take long for, unfortunately, traffic collisions, fatalities to increase exponentially.”
Cronin, a former traffic officer, said cities can’t rely on unattended traffic signals or camera lights to catch bad drivers and that people are needed to educate motorists on safe driving. But those people also need backup and the authority to arrest should they encounter a driver who is intoxicated, armed and fleeing a crime, or wanted on other charges.
ADVERTISEMENT“Traffic stops are one of the most unpredictable and therefore dangerous duties of law enforcement. There is no such thing as a routine traffic stop and to perform them effectively and safely takes months of police training in and outside of an academy,” said Frank Merenda, a former New York City Police Department captain who is an assistant professor of criminal justice at Marist College.
Philip Stinson, a criminal justice professor at Bowling Green State University, called the idea an “overly simplistic plan that could have deadly consequences for unarmed traffic enforcement officers.”Nine U.S. police officers were killed during traffic stops so far this year, according to data compiled by the National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund. Six were shot, and three were struck by vehicles.
Numerous studies have shown Black drivers are much more likely to be stopped by police than whites for minor traffic infractions, and the results sometimes can be deadly for the driver.Philando Castile, for example, was fatally shot after the 32-year-old was stopped for a broken tail light in 2016 in Minnesota. Sandra Bland, 28, died in a jail cell three days after being stopped for failing to signal when changing lanes in Texas in 2015.
The largely affluent and progressive San Francisco suburb of 120,000 has led the country on environmental, cultural and equity issues but still has lopsided traffic stop figures.A 2018 report by the Center for Policing Equity, a research and advocacy group based in Los Angeles, found that Black and Latino drivers were stopped by Berkeley police at higher rates than whites.
Data analyses by the Stanford Open Policing Project at Stanford University also found that Black and Latino drivers were searched far more often than whites, but the searches turned up fewer drugs, guns and other contraband.Berkeley police issued a statement Wednesday saying the department would work with the community “to determine how we can best evolve to accomplish our mission of safeguarding our community.”
Police unions for Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Jose issued a statement opposing the proposal. The Berkeley police union did not respond to requests for comment this week.Arreguin, the mayor, said creating a new department is a phase-two development that’s at least a year away and would likely involve making changes to state law.
Traffic stops can be dangerous and require extensive training, said Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum, a research organization that promotes best practices in policing. He also recognizes fairness and profiling are issues for law enforcement.
“At the end of the day, policymakers would have to ask themselves if this change accomplished their intended goals,” he said. Read more: The Associated Press »
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I can already see less people stopping at traffic lights daily in Berkeley. Careful on the streets everyone, especially pedestrians and bikes GreenEyedLilo If their isn't a victim its not even the polices bissness. Someone's speeding? Send them a ticket in the mail, throwing on flashing lights and speeding after someone is as dangerous or more dangerous then just letting them go.
GreenEyedLilo This is going to be a f*€k!ng nightmare GreenEyedLilo That's convenient for traffickers & criminals with warrants. LivePDMissoula2 So AMBER ALERTS, bank robberies with high speed chase, drunk drivers at 3am, drug traffickers, this is all for an unarmed civillian? Who do they call having no gun if they get in trouble? Does this make them unarmed snitches for cops? What could make a criminal angrier than this
LivePDMissoula2 IDIOTS The people pushing for this should have their friends and family sign up. If they think this is a good decision, they should have the people they live sign up to be the unarmed civilians stopping people. I can't support this. This is radical thinking Yea, ok... I’ll be stopping for a civilian.. lol good luck catching me in my 500hp camaro. Lmao
Had to take screenshot of this 👆for when the first Karen of Berkeley is blown-away and Berkeley has to announce they are suspending traffic laws being enforced. 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣 Just plain stupid So an unarmed civilian is going to pull over a career criminal? Then what? Just let them go? How will they check for warrants? Will they put them in their regular car to arrest them? Do they realize that if they get killed they won’t be heroes, they will be the butt of jokes?
A few miles away is Richmond, Ca... the city that was referenced in the movie Coach Carter. South of Berkeley is Oakland, Ca. You have two of the worst crime ridden cities in the world. Yeah Berkeley... please defund the police. Lmfao you fucking idiots. What could go wrong? 🤷♂️ This’ll go well... The sooner California falls into the ocean the better.
Yeah because that's a great idea. Liberals already don't respect police, what makes you think they're going to respect Jerry who works in the parks department to give them a speeding ticket. A civilian pulling you over is a carjacking. What could possibly go wrong? 🤨 I'm glad they're trying this stupid shit in California cities where they deserve the outcome. Maybe one day they're learn that Democrat policies fail every time.
noreallyhowcome Progress! DisarmThePolice What could go wrong here? This is the height of stupidity! Will the civilians have to take a lengthy course in traffic laws? Will they take high speed driving courses for pursuits? What if a driver becomes belligerent/violent? Will they have arrest powers? People are gonna get killed.
Ok Do u attend UC Berkeley? Do u live in Berkeley? You need to sign this petition. Seth Smith was shot & killed while taking an evening walk June 15. His murderer is still out there.Pls help find justice for Seth! via Change Berkeley UCBerkley SethSmith LOL!!!!!! Serious question. What happens when a suspended driver tells the unarmed civilian to go fuck their hat and drives away. Or simply refuses to identify themselves when asked to do so.
This will get people killed. We don't need no stinkin badges! good call, berkeley. one thing we know is that armed police aren’t routinely assaulted and killed at traffic stops. unarmed civilians will clearly not be stepping into harm’s way with no training or means of defending themselves. don’t smoke up and legislate.
Yeah, put a bunch of busybodies on a power trip stopping more people than even a cop would, thinking they're protected because they're so proud to be gun-free... All I see is 🤡 Incredibly stupid People are paid to make these decisions? That’s amazing! 'Progressively' worse. So Berkeley thinks the gun/badge cause racism? Thats next level logic right there.
Until one of them gets shot and killed. They should just stop it. They're progressing right down into the sewer. Insanity Wait till one gets killed. You go and explain to the family. Work for grown ups. Stupid. Let us know how that works out Idiots ... one of the most dangerous things police do! Sweet! Now good cops can actually do good police work and the Mall cops can deal w/ that bullshit. 🤣😂
This is worse than when the mall cop has his lights on and wants you to pull over but all you need to do is leave the mall parking lot and he can’t do shit.... So being unarmed makes you not racist? We have that now. It's called road rage. It just takes a special kind of stupid to be a progressive in Berkeley. You people will deserve what you get.
Please live stream all of this This is why progressives should not be in charge of anything. The goal here is first anarchy, then totalitarianism. Good luck with that. Civilians giving traffic citations. LoL ❤😍 Don’t they watch “Gone in Seconds” Most horrendous crimes are traffic stops. Good grief. I said 8 years ago this next generation is going to ruin as all. Not saying it’s them but fuuuuuck it’s coincidental. Good luck, Cali
these is a great start..the old police system is broken and filled with filth... Cool, so drivers can pull each other over for traffic violations and share their experiences. Trials n error methods Rent a cop is now called rent a fool. I am changing my view. The feds should not just push for cheap paper COVID19 test strips that everyone can use daily. They should be the ones to make them. The technology exists. The money exists. There is little reason not to do it. These could end the outbreak quickly.
What a great idea-why didn’t we think of that before It probably won't stop racial profiling but it most certainly will save lives of black people who are stopped. lol anyone will tell you that the traffic stop is the most dangerous encounter there is for a policeman. Good luck sending your social workers out for those wheel of death moments
Qonder how many civilians will die as they are not able to handel with no force of any kind ppl on drugs or the random ass hole who attacks them during a traffic stop and since they jave no taser or gun. And why would anyone stop if they have no legal athority to give tickets So progressive Berkeley banned free speech 👍🏻
JoshMankiewicz Good luck with that. What makes people think that just because they dont have a law enforcement badge and a gun that they arent capable of being racist? Last I checked; cops are still people, just like the ones they are going to be replacing them with. The badge doesnt make you racist.
Traffic stops; because those never involve violence from the occupants. Good luck pulling over someone with a warrant and nothing to lose; a fugitive, terrorist, drugs, etc.. Where can I stream this? Hahahaha....this is the most ridiculous thing I’ve read today. And that includes all of realDonaldTrump nonsense
One of the most dangerous activities that police are involved in. Who's signing up for that job? I really don’t want to hear shit when those people get robbed, stabbed or shot. Sounds very Californian 😂 TheOnion ? Oh this is going to end well...Why don't they just use robots instead. Safer for everyone.
This is going to be fun to watch. Do they get body cameras? I can see how that could work... even though challenging That isn't going to work See:burkley prison experiment What do you do it you pull someone over and they have a warrant for murder? “ sir stay right here. We need to take you to jail for life “
Cant wait to see the results of this experiment! This doesn’t sound safe... Unarmed? They should let the gangs take care of everything, at least they strapped. What could possibly go wrong? Oooookkkkkk...good luck with that👀🤷♂️🙄😂😂😂 How many dead social workers does it take before thee left wing loonies get smarter. I forgot. The hard left does not care how many are killed in pursuit of ideological purity. Mao, Stalin an Pol Pot killed millions without even blinking
Two Policemen have been killed, in just the last few days, during traffic stops. Sure, go ahead. Progressively marching over a cliff. Lol. That’s a joke. “I see you met Cynthia.” “Thanks Cynthia.” LOL good luck libs Because at night, you can clearly tell the race of the driver before pulling them over. 🙄
radleybalko DOOD! What can go wrong there? We see people fighting over a damn mask.
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