Request for Working group -Join us in working to Demilitarize our local law enforcement agencies


Heads Up Friends!

In response to community demands to take war gear off the streets, California passed new legislation in 2021. CA AB481 gives community members insight and power to decide on how militarized our police should be. We are looking for supporters who can help reach out to other Chico residents, review policies, or join us in meeting with members of Chico City Council.

This is an opportunity to press for de-militarization. Militarized policing has been constructed over a long period of time, and has become embedded in the thinking, budgets, and institutional prerogatives of both law enforcement and citizens. It's built on narratives of fear and racism, as well as a history and culture that embraces war. It's been disproportionately used on people of color and other marginalized groups. California local law enforcement agencies have received, for decades now, more military equipment than any other state, without clear protocols for use.

Chico Police Department (CPD) is mandated to provide an annual military equipment report, for public as well as City Council review........to include: inventory; purpose and manner of use; complaints, internal audits, or violations of the Military Equipment Use Policy; and total annual costs and funding sources for the equipment.

Then, CPD must hold at least one well-publicized and conveniently located community engagement meeting, for the public's feedback on the report.

CPD's military gear includes a tank-like armored vehicle (Bearcat), drones, and submachine guns, and much more. As required by CA AB481, Chico City Council approved the CPD's Military Equipment Use Policy #709 last May.

However, we believe that Policy #709 is not as clear and complete as Chico City Council should require it to be. CA AB481 states "Legally enforceable safeguards, including transparency, oversight and accountability measures, must be in place to protect the public's welfare, safety, civil rights and civil liberties before military equipment is funded, acquired, or used." Examples: the current Policy #409 doesn't spell out 1.PROHIBITED USES for the listed military equipment; 2. how COMMUNICATION with MENTALLY ILL or NON-ENGLISH SPEAKERS will be conducted; 3. INDEPENDENT MECHANISMS TO ENSURE OVERSIGHT and COMPLIANCE.

It's time to discuss with Chico City Council members re what the annual military equipment report should include, so that the Police Department prepares a useful report.

Help make our voices heard! Join our Concerned Community for Justice (CC4J) working group to make sure that our City Council and Police fully comply with the new law, first in the Nation! We will ask challenging questions, brainstorm, research, connect with the media, the community at large, and beyond. Communities across the State are coming to terms with these issues, so we are not alone.

Please let us know if you are interested and tell others who you think would support this work. We will keep you posted for our first meeting soon after the first of the new year.

Forwards,

Ann Polivka

Polivka.ann@gmail.com

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