Ensuring that our police department is operating in a modern way is not only crucial to ensuring that our city operates in a just manner but that our community stays safe, happy, healthy, and productive.
Ensure spending is in line with need
Today Mountain View outspends all of its neighboring cities for its police service.1 We need to do a systematic review of all department spending to make sure that it is necessary.
This policy was pioneered by President Barack Obama when he was an Illinois State Senator.5 Every interaction an officer has should be recorded and the race of the individual reported. Collecting this data allows the city to ensure that racial disparities can be monitored and if needed, addressed. Without the data on interactions good policy is hard to develop.
Eliminate Police Toys
The Mountain View Police Department recently bought a second drone. There is not a need for a second drone. All too often the police department budget is padded up with things that are not really necessary for an effective functioning department.
Eliminate Excessive Weaponry
We are lucky in that our local police department has not fired a gun in service in more than 30 years. Which made it confusing why the Mountain View Police Department then needed to order more guns so that officers could be equipped with a third or fourth weapon each. We should reduce the number of firearms maintained by the department.
Diversify Public Safety Personnel
The type of calls that police officers respond to varies widely. Right now we largely have one type of standard peace officer respond to all of these types of calls. Diversifying the training background and personnel on the force to better respond to calls that require different skills will increase safety in our community and better serve our citizens.
Study the Merged Public Safety Model
The City of Sunnyvale has a combined Police and Fire Department that works to provide a range of response types to all the public safety calls that come into the city. The City of Palo Alto is also looking at merging their departments.2 The City of Mountain View should study how our departments could be reorganized to make sure that the right resource responds to citizen needs.
Mandatory De-Escalation Training
De-escalation training is powerful for preventing police shootings and violence. We should fund and require all officers working in Mountain View to receive this training. Simply because we have not had alarming police shootings here in Mountain View does not mean we shouldn’t work to ensure we are doing everything to prevent future incidents.
Ban Outside Work
Police officers should not be allowed to work inside jobs that are unofficial extensions of their police duty. Working as night club bouncer, as personal or event security, while off-duty but in uniform or with a radio blurs the lines of the department and creates unnecessary conflict of interest.
Police investigations should not be limited in scope, in length of duration, or in any other manner that subverts justice.
Fired Means Fired
If an officer is fired by the Police Chief, there should be no mechanism for reinstatement of that officer. Too often troubled officers are reinstated on police forces that then go on to create other incidents. The judgement and official procedure for removal of an officer should be thorough and final.
Ensure that all officer misconduct is reviewed in an open and timely manner by a group of citizens with no connection to the police department.
8 Can't Wait
Fully adopt this national standard for good police department practice www.8cantwait.org
Ban Police Union Money From Council Campaigns
It should not be possible for the City Council to give raises and then turn around and accept political donations that come in part from those raises.
Ban Rubber Bullets and Beanbags
These options can lead to lifelong disfigurement3 and should only be used with emergency City Council authorization.
Return the Department of Defense Gear
We do not live in a war zone and our city does not require the same type of equipment that is deployed on the battlefield. Mountain View should return or decommission all equipment received from the Department of Defense.
Ban Military Style Uniforms
The uniforms our police officers wear when arriving at a scene should keep them safe, but should also encourage open collaboration—they should not be styled to intimidate.4
Customer Service Surveys
Not everyone will have a great experience during their time interacting with a police officer. That is understandable but by surveying all interactions with police officers we can better understand who might be a problematic officer or someone in need of additional training. We can best live up to the model of Protecting and Serving when we know how our citizens are experiencing interactions with the police department.