Chico City Council Candidates

CC4J sent a questionnaire to all of the eight candidates for the open seats on the Chico City Council in September, 2022.  Below are the responses received from Jesica Giannola.

 

District 6 - Jesica Giannola   contact:  Jesica Giannola for Council

 

Questions for Chico City Council Candidates


1. In “21st Century Policing”, law enforcement is called upon to be “guardians, not warriors” to build trust and legitimacy both within agencies
and with the public. What police reform do you see is needed in Chico and what will you do to enact this reform?


 I would like to see the following reform actions taken with the Chico PD; Demilitarization steps need to be taken where they can. The policy of taking on used military equipment and purchasing of specific military grade arms needs immediate reevaluation and reconsideration. .
Chico PD has had recent history of officer involved shootings resulting in death of the civilian, and then documentation of subsequent investigation have revealed possible cover-ups, withheld information, excessive redaction, and denial of public records requests. Chico needs independent prosecutors, and civilian complaint review boards for transparency and accountability.
Mental health policies for officers should be addressed as well. Officers are engaged in high-stress intense interactions and it's imperative that they have adequate support for their mental health well being. That can look like regular mental health assessments, required mental health debriefing, skill applications, and careful consideration of misconduct and complaints. Racial bias and profiling training is incredibly important for our officers in determining often unrealized bias that influence their approach to civilians of various ethnic or socioeconomic backgrounds. This training is crucial in breaking down the bias that leads to dangerous and lethal interactions. I also feel that our officers should not work excessive overtime, as with any dangerous job that requires sound decision making, and high stress scenarios, an officer would experience fatigue and poor judgement when constantly required to work long hours. Just as pilots and truck drivers need breaks between shifts, so
should officers.


2. Chico Police Dept. uses ‘Lexipol’, a for- profit criminal justice company, to write our Use of Force policy. Officers learn deescalation techniques at the Butte College Academy but CC4J advocates for even more training. Will you support a local use of force policy that encourages increased training in de- escalation and overall humane policing?

 I absolutely support Increased training for our officers. Information is a powerful thing, and the more information that we can ensure that our officers have access to regarding states of mind and behavior, responses to PTSD and trauma, and
tools in how to deescalate an activated individual the better officer involved scenarios can play out for the people they are serving.

3. What method should be used to hold officers accountable for excessive use of force?


Excessive use of force would likely occur if an officer was in a high stress situation with a citizen that may not be responding to commands as anticipated, and without adequate training in defusion the officer may try to force compliance.
These types of interactions end up in a much higher state of escalation than they needed to be. One other explanation for use of excessive force is that the officer's use of force may be intentional and stem from nefarious intent or discrimination. Either way, each scenario will need to be addressed accordingly as community mistrust of officer involved interactions may develop, and people that fear profiling
may become agitated and stressed during officer involved interactions. Starting off interactions in a heightened state by either party can result in the death of a bystander or person of interest. This officer would need debriefing on what happened, identifying opportunities
where they could have used a different approach/use of commands/etc. Role play training is highly recommended so that officers can practice skills further. If the officer is resistant to additional training and application skills or it is found that the officer was willful and deliberate in their inappropriate use of force then the officer
should receive disciplinary actions. The officer may need to be suspended or completely removed from their current
job duties to work in another part of the force, or possibly take a leave of absence depending on what took place against a civilian. Officers that are repeat offenders of excessive violence or have been found involved in a serious interaction resulting in serious bodily harm or death may face termination from the force- depending on the circumstances. Each scenario will require mental health assessments to determine intent and the
officers own mental health capabilities when faced with scenarios that could result in officer to civilian physical contact - risking opportunities for excessive use of force. We want our officers to feel confident in their skills and feel safe using them. We want our community to trust that our officers will proceed with integrity and caution so that life-loss does not become their reality during officer involved
interactions.


4. CC4J advocates for Mental Health professionals to be sent to the call when someone is having an episode rather than Law enforcement. Describe what role you think Behavioral Health should play in such cases.

Behavioral Health should be able to do an assessment on calls to determine state of mind, violence risk, physical health assessment, and a needs
assessment. The behavioral health professional should be prepared to connect the individual with a set of resources that will follow up with them within 12 hours. The behavioral health specialists should have referral sites available for the individual to go to where they can feel safe and respected. They may need to make a call to connect the individual at the time of the call, or be able to transport
the individual to a predetermined safe location for observation/de-escalation/shelter/detox/
case management. The behavioral health professional could also act as a liaison between the officers and the citizen of concern or their loved ones. Their presence can help diffuse a situation, making it manageable and successful.

 

5. Although there is a PCAB- Police Citizens Advisory Board, there is no independent civilian oversight in our law enforcement agency in Chico. Do you agree that independent civilian oversight is needed? If so, how will you promote oversight as a Councilor?


Every city should have a citizen advisory board. Board members could discuss cases of concern at each meeting, offering suggestions for improvement and resources. At least one Council should be in attendance and all councilors should be able to receive a report after each meeting for information and follow-up input opportunities. Complaints with the process should be taken seriously and
discussion on how to resolve complaints acted upon quickly. We need an open door policy with our policy officers and interactions with the public for better relationships to develop that will increase trust and cease preventable loss of life scenarios.

6. One of the oversights the City Council has over the Chico Police Dept. is through the budget. How will you use the power of that oversight to guide law enforcement?


 I would love to sit down with multiple city and police department representatives to go over the expenses and budget needs for our police department so that I could truly understand them as they stand now. One complaint that many in our community have is that a substantial amount of our city budget has been dedicated to our police department. Having the needs for current expenses substantiated will be important in validating the current budget, otherwise opportunities for improvement in use of funds may be identified. A city has many areas of concern that need a balanced and successful budget to satisfy the needs of the city. Overspending in one area will result in other areas

suffering greatly, and Chico is in need of a clear and balanced budget to keep our community healthy and safe. Spending more on police does not guarantee a safety community.