Op-Ed: Elk Grove City Council: It’s Time for Action
As an elected official on the Board of the Cosumnes Community Services District (CSD) and as a long-time community member, I want to express my disappointment with our elected officials in the city of Elk Grove.
As of the writing of this piece, none of our five elected leaders who govern over the Elk Grove Police Department have written or spoken the words “Black Lives Matter” and none have suggested any preventative policy which will ultimately reduce the likelihood for excessive use of force resulting in injury or death to community members.
This is not the time to hide behind diversity pledges and slogans (“no place for hate”). It’s time to listen to what the Black community has been saying for years. It’s time for action.
There are several preventative policies that, when put in place, are shown to dramatically reduce the likelihood of police violence and as an elected official, I am standing with the Black community who has been calling on these preventative measures for years.
It’s time for the city council and the mayor to listen and to commit to take immediate action on the following:
- Create an independent, all-citizen police commission. Independent police commissions that have power over policy reforms has been shown to increase transparency and accountability while creating a space for improved community relations.
- Establish a team of mental health professionals, social workers and/or crisis counselors to send as first responders to calls involving mental health crisis. Reallocating city funds to include a mental health crisis team has been shown to reduce police use of force in these situations by 40 percent.
- Immediately implement use of force policies recommended by Campaign Zero. Campaign Zero researched police departments across the United States and found that departments that implement more restrictions on police use of force kill significantly fewer civilians. Eight policies were identified which, if implemented, the average police department would have 54 percent fewer killings. Not to mention, departments that have these policies also found an overall decrease in officer on-the-job-injuries. The City of Elk Grove currently has policies reflecting 4 of the 8.
Here are the four that deserve attention in Elk Grove:
- Ban Chokeholds and Strangleholds — I realize that the Police Department banned the use of carotid restraints; however, chokeholds and all other neck restraints must be banned in all cases.
- Requiring the Exhausting of All Alternatives Before Shooting — Require officers to exhaust all other alternatives, including non-force and less lethal force options, prior to resorting to deadly force.
- Banning Shooting at Moving Vehicles — Ban officers from shooting at moving vehicles in all cases, which is regarded as a particularly dangerous and ineffective tactic.
- Require Comprehensive Reporting — Comprehensive reporting includes requiring officers to report whenever they point a firearm at someone, in addition to all other types of force.
For more information about Campaign Zero — www.joincampaignzero.org.
It’s time to lift up these issues and get to work. I know the actions that are taken now will not immediately repair the damage of four hundred years of explicit and systemic racism in this country, but this moment is demanding a reckoning and that takes bold leadership. I hope the city of Elk Grove’s elected leaders will meet the moment.
Black Lives Matter.
Cosumnes CSD Board Director