Alameda: Before figuring out how to get there, let law up where we need to get to…

By Ben Calica
Before we get tangled in the great defund/fix debate, lets get everyone on the same page about what needs to go, specifically, and in writing/law so not one more parent has to teach their kids how to survive a traffic stop.

There is a lot of debate on what to do next, even what to call it, but there is a step that we can all agree on- what needs to stop, and what needs to be part of whatever agencies exist to make sure it doesn’t happen again. We want no more unneeded deaths, no more racial targeting and no more people having to teach their kids how to stay safe if they are stopped by the cops. So how do we put those goals into specifics and into writing/law so what we are debating is which approach to use, but whichever it is, it has to accomplish those goals.

  1. Set the goals of what has to change into law first: While there us a great deal of debate on reform vs. rebuilding, we can agree and put into force of mandate/law a set of requirements that whatever entity(s) end up existing has to live up to or be replaced. Basically however we get there, these need to be done or the relevant agency is removed and replaced; These include

And then (ok in parallel cause we need this fixed already) Rethink and Focus on the goals of first response and follow up response and evaluate the methods for example:

  1. Breakdown and Debundle Functions: The concept of getting the right responder for the right job is clearly a more efficient and effective approach then using the police as a catchall for responding to anything that isn’t fire or medical. A perfect example, one of the business districts is complaining that the police are not responding to their homelessness complaints anymore. However, they have been using the police for this for a long time and mostly the same problems keep coming up. Instead of putting that back to the APD, hire someone to be a community responder. The real problem the businesses have isn’t people being homeless, it is anyone who is making it difficult for their customers to come and do business with them. That means that someone who is engaged can both help out the particular homeless to get helped in a way that also helps the businesses out.

To be clear, based on what I’ve seen with APD, I don’t know if reform is possible. What happened with Mr. Watkins on the 23rd of May was bad enough, but the response of the department has been utterly chilling. There was what can best be described as a minimizing and worst a downright false report about the incident initially, which lends absolute credenice to their being hundreds more incidents that just didn’t happen to be caught on video. We are now over a month later and there is no public statements about how terrible it was and how it does not reflect the principals of the department. There is no departmental shame about what happened and an outreach from the officers about how they feel this is a black mark against what they believe. Instead, the officers have been kept quiet and getting upset because they feel like they are under attack.

So this very department has shown all the danger signs in action for an agency that has those danger flags about potential change waving in the breeze. And it really breaks my heart to say that, because I want to believe that change can happen in an agency that I’ve worked with as a business guy. (And clearly privileged white guy.)

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Ben Calica owns D20 Games, a store dedicated to getting people face to face, not face to screen. (kinda problematic at the moment.)

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Ben Calica

Ben Calica owns D20 Games, a store dedicated to getting people face to face, not face to screen. (kinda problematic at the moment.)