The police system defaults in our country are broken, and now is an opportunity for us to address those issues through policy, budget, and behavior changes. El Cerrito PD is allocated 30% of the El Cerrito budget, and is our largest line item, almost 5x more than Community Development. A report from Contra Costa County found that in El Cerrito, Black people were 13% more likely to be stopped than whites, although they make up 8% of our population.
There is a clear lack of civilian oversight and transparency of the police department, and because of the lack of accountability and transparency we actually do not know the breakdown of arrests or use of force by race.
Two actions the petition calls for, joining the California Police Scorecard (like our neighbors Berkeley and Richmond), and creating a Civilian Oversight Board would help to clarify and track racial profiling and excessive use of force.
Although El Cerrito shares the Bay Area’s housing and mental health crisis, we have virtually no resources or services to address this issue. Most of the violent crime in El Cerrito this last year was the result of crime upon homeless individuals.
This is a moment to rethink how we can use our resources wisely by reallocating funds away from policing and investing in social workers who can help address housing and mental health care issues with more efficiency and expertise than the police. Join us in demanding a safer El Cerrito for us all. Sign the petition here. https://campaigns.organizefor.org/petitions/el-cerrito-police-reforms
Contributed by Sarah Klauer