Ballot Initiative for Police Accountability
Everyone in Berkeley has the right to be safe and treated fairly by the police – no matter who we are or where we live. Greater community input into police practices and policies builds mutual trust and fosters true public safety.
Time for Best Practices
Berkeley’s Police Review Commission (PRC) was established in 1973 and does not reflect today’s best practices for police accountability and transparency. The PRC simply does not have the tools and authority to be effective. The Charter Amendment will bring our city in line with current standards.
Problems to Remedy
Berkeley police officers work hard to serve our community, and we honor their courage and commitment. However, problems persist in some interactions with community members—in particular, people of color, people who are unsheltered, people in mental health crisis, and people taking part in lawful protests.
Some in our city complain of under-policing and inadequate police responsiveness, while others complain of over-policing, excessive use of force, and racial profiling. The Police Department’s data, as well as a review by the Center for Policing Equity, point to ongoing racial disparities in treatment. Some residents fear calling in the police, and some feel it’s hopeless to pursue a misconduct complaint.
The Charter Amendment
To address these concerns, the city engaged in a long process involving community members, city officials and staff, and the Police Office to put a Charter Amendment on the November ballot to strengthen community oversight of law enforcement.
It has been endorsed by many diverse community leaders and organizations. Finally we have a consensus Charter Amendment for Berkeley voters to approve. Key improvements include:
• Independence for the Police Review Commission (renamed the “Police Accountability Board”) from the City Manager, who also oversees the Police Department. This resolves an inherent conflict of interest.
• More access for the Board to the data they need to do their job.
• More time to investigate cases of alleged police misconduct.
• A more reasonable standard of evidence in misconduct cases.
These common-sense changes--long overdue--will help ensure that all members of our community feel safe, secure, and valued.
We urge you to spread the word about this ballot measure and help get it passed.
For more information and ways to get involved, e-mail the Campaign for a Safe Berkeley at email@example.com.
Link to the Charter text and other documents