Policing & Community Engagement Committee
About the Committee
The purpose of the Policing and Community Engagement committee is to create and implement a community engagement plan regarding policing in Union City in response to the national and local events surrounding the death of George Floyd. Community involvement is a core component of this committee, and we actively sought Union City residents’ input on their issues, concerns, and recommendations for improvement.
The work of the Policing and Community Engagement Committee has concluded and City Council has unanimously accepted the resolution to adopt the recommendations presented by this Policing and Community Engagement Committee.
The committee members included:
- Vice Mayor Emily Duncan
- Councilmember Pat Gacoscos
- Chair Melissa Shuen-Mallory of the Human Relations Commission
- Commissioner Michele Williams-Smith of the Human Relations Commission
- Commissioner Jonathan Pettey of the Human Relations Commission
New Era of Public Safety: An Advocacy Toolkit For Fair, Safe, and Effective Community Policing by The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights Coalition (presented by Commissioner Pettey at the July 23 PCE Committee meeting)
Invitation letter for individuals to participate, based on PCE Committee and community recommendations
Now more than ever we need our UCPD. We need our police officers in full force, keeping our city safe and free of crime. Anyone choosing to abuse the law/intentionally hurt others and commit crimes should be held accountable to the full extent of the law. Hopefully more law enforcement and officer visibility in our community will deter individuals who willingly cause mayhem and unwanted violence. Our men and women in blue should be paid more and well-staffed. Thank you UCPD for your service.
Does Union City have a requirement that police officers live within the city? If not, why not. What is the current percentage of police officers living in Union City? When will there be a push to increase the number of officers living in Union City?
What kind of departments or services can we create to alleviate the demand for police officers for non-emergent calls (ie. Fireworks, noise complaints, disruptions)?
Although Union City does not have a history of many fatal police violence incidents as far as I have seen in statistics, policing can still be changed to improve the quality of life in this city. By splitting off some of the responsibilities that police officers have currently and creating additional divisions with staff who have expertise in specific local community issues, mental health, de-escalation, police officers can then be freed up to address the more serious crimes that require more enforcement, and more minor complaints will be able to be addressed by the new divisions instead of being ignored.
Also, it would be prudent to survey and measure Union City residents' sentiments towards the police to see where more trust needs to be built (specific neighborhoods that may be patrolled differently than others) and address how to build that trust.
I will try to attend next Thursday's meeting to being these up, and want to express my sincere appreciation for the formation of this committee and your openness to hear from the community. It shows Union City's commitment to improving policing from the local level.
I feel Union City has a great police department and we have great city council. I feel with Police Department there need be more out reach and Race basis training in the Black and Brown community here in Union City. Being a African American man who was born and raised In Union City and almost 30 years old, I have seen Union City grow into a diverse community. I had about 4 peaceful encounters with Police here and each one has ended peaceful and I always been good guy and stayed out of trouble. I am going be honest with you each of my four times had deal with Police. I was afraid and scared and it shouldn’t be that way. I have neighbor who lived in Union City for 50 years or more and he remember when ,Police used be more of mentor and be there help the person out. Bottom line we need to have that same relationship with Police in place again with Citzens and the young people. I think also there should be more resources for students in New Haven schools and mentorship programs down at city hall and the Police Department.
Hello to all, My husband and I are attending the weekly gatherings for the Policing and Community Engagement Committee and applaud you for these. I was recently sent an email by a friend with a link to Barack Obama's article published on Medium (6/1/20). The link is below. Click on "Obama published a piece on Medium" The article is : "How To Make This Moment the Turning Point for Real Change" Further down in the article, he offers a link to a report and toolkit developed by the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, based on the work of the Task Force on 21st Century Policing, while he was in the White House. I thought perhaps this toolkit would offer some constructive help for the committee and those of us joining in. https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/obama-puts-out-guide-to-get-to-work-on-real-change-amid-george-floyd-protests/ar-BB14SPDo?ocid=sf2
What policies or trainings does the police department employ to preclude racial profiling and unnecessary use of force on people who are arrested, people who are uncooperative, and people who are perceived as under the influence? What are rates of arrests of people of color (specifically Black and Brown Union City residents) versus the demographics of the city? Are they proportionate? What are rates of arrests by different communities within Union City (e.g., Casa Verde, etc) Will Union City also adopt policies to defund the police department such that non-criminal events are handled by unarmed personnel like skilled social workers instead? How does Union City keep the police department accountable such that there is no “blue wall of silence”?
I believe our society has come to rely too heavily on public safety for matters they have not been trained to manage. Police officers are not mental health professionals. They are not equipped to handle individuals experiencing mental health episodes nor should we expect them to be. It is imperative that mental health professionals be available to respond to emergency calls for help in our community. Police officers are not social workers. They are not equipped to manage familial disputes where emotions run high and logic does not apply. It would be in our community's best interest to have social workers respond to such matters. I realize the City is experiencing unprecedented economic hardship and that additional funding for such services likely does not exist. This is why the only option is to pull from the Police Department budget to pay for the services our community desperately needs. Our officers should be dedicated to preventing crime in our City and our detectives should be dedicated to investigating crimes that have been committed. It is not reasonable to expect them to also serve as mental health professionals and social workers.
Do not even consider defunding our police. They have a hard enough job as it is without the City taking away their support. With the increasing crimes of 'porch pirates' stealing packages, gang members moving in, and the homeless flocking here due to the 'Compassionate City' policy, we need our valiant police officers more than ever!
I salute our UCPD for doing a great job policing our community. My question is, how can we enhance the racial and cultural sensitivity in our community. Does the PD have a systematic inservice and employment orientation to address those differences including the use of appropriate force as needed. How about mental health assessment and stress management as a tool in dealing with crisis intervention.
Thankful that you've taken these steps to organize yourselves and to seek community input. As I listen, I'd like to share my thoughts as well.
1. Communication and bridge and trust building takes time, attention and hopefully, will result with better means and ways of "accountability."
2. Regarding accountability, wondering if you've provided any data re: Police activity/ arrests/ stopping / traffic checks, and any data related to race interactions? Exactly as Pastor Brown brings up.
3. Also, speaking of the UCPD being under manned --what is the demographics of info of the UCPD? What is the UCPD budget? Build on strengths and experience. Important to name and determine which of those former "building foundational blocks"--as Mr. Jaramillo suggested. Absolutely necessary to make intentional improvements. In a way, no need to reinvent the wheel. Though as always, there's now, more urgency to improve and fine tune messaging and our actions.
4. Generally, the public is also used to the Police defending their actions. Though each case is unique, there are historical trends, including the rationales from the Police that justify their actions. Regarding "alleged" incidents of police harassment and brutality, there is very little follow-up, and I'm sure for legal reasons, there appears to be no efforts at all for any "reconciliation." Regarding not having to reinvent the wheel, we should all be familiar with Restorative Justice work - that by its nature, requires time and willingness for parties to be willing to participate- and figure out meaningful ways to make sure that all "victims" --whether of crime or police harassment have ways --as with Pastor Brown's work and the work of UC Family Resource Center-- to "restore sense of justice." Specific to Police and Community relations, what does our national cries for justice look like in Union City?
5. Re: Police Budget. We know that throughout the country, many Cities and Councils are faced with calls for change. I'd like to know what action plans are in process within the UCPD to heed to some of these calls for change.
6. Anyone able to investigate data of UC residents that are incarcerated? and for what? How many UC youth are serving time?
7.We all need to keep finding ways to break cycles of poverty and incarceration and "pipelines to prison." Like some that don't go to the dentist until tooth is decayed, we all need to define, co-create and facilitate opportunities that prevent recurrence of decadence.
8. Apparently, the Masonic Home is working on collaborating with the Alameda County Sheriffs to create a farm to table type program. In progress in San Leandro, can check out at https://www.acdsal.org/ddf-programs.
8. Also, NH Board also recently approved a statement regarding Black Lives Matter. I can send link soon.
9. There's a lot of good work to be done, and a lot of good work that has slowly progressed and at times, been deterred. Let's name our fears, traumas, concerns, hopes and beliefs.... and find some common ground. I'm thankful to all of us that serve Union City in our unique capacities. We all want a safe, healthy and vibrant community. Let's continue in good faith for the "common good." Thank you!
I understand from former trainees in the Union City PD that they are (I hope were) trained to "shot to kill"...I would like to see this Union City Police policy discussed and analyzed as to who (age, ethnicity, gender, etc.) has the policy statistically involved, under what circumstances, and can a more fair, just, and humane approach to policing be adopted in this regard. This is a police practice I have been personally privy to, as a resident of Union City for the past ten years , on at least two occasions. No one would like their sons or daughters, nor themselves, open to this kind of inhumane police mentality nor conduct therein. Police officers performance records should be maintained and monitored, in order to terminate those who demonstrate an attitude of this sort , with no more than a second chance to improve.
Thank you for establishing this means of open input and communication from the community. My primary concern these days is the level of awareness and training the UC police officers have regarding the autistic and other neurodiverse members of Union Cityś community. As my autistic son enters adulthood, I am fearful that some of his behaviors and tendencies might be construed as suspicious when they are innocent. His means of communication and receptive language skills are different from others of his peer group and may lead to misunderstandings if he is ever in a situation where he is being addressed by an officer. I would love to have the opportunity (and I am sure other parents would as well) to introduce my son to officers and explain his quirks to decrease his vulnerability and any misunderstanding that may arise from his difference.
I am unable to attend tonight's meeting. I do however want to make sure that within the conversations that will be held tonight that there be an awareness of the importance of police in or city. They ensure that the population as a whole is safe. They allow for us to know that the worst offenders will hopefully not be hurting people in their own homes, or in our community. Adding training and adding social services to a police force may be beneficial as a prevention method. Obviously the more that our police force understands the population that they are working with and how to decrease the chances of escalating a situation, the better. This is safer for the officers and the individuals that they come into contact with. Ensuring that they have the financial support (providing enough officers to complete the necessary duties in a healthy and less stressful way, also allowing for adequate recovery time) is paramount. Taking police out of the equation or reducing them to a breaking point is not the answer.
I'm glad I was able to attend this meeting, after missing the last two due to other commitments. I found Lieutenant Mendez's account of the police department's many past beneficial programs particularly interesting. It sounds like these programs did a lot of good for the community, and I agree that there should be funding dedicated specifically to programs like those, whether through the police department or not. All speakers mentioned racial sensitivity and implicit bias training, which I agree is very important. I would also like to emphasize the importance of deescalation training. My most memorable interaction with the police in Union City was when I witnessed two officers who had responded to a call about a man shouting and possibly drunk outside a restaurant. All the situation really required was for someone to firmly but nonthreateningly walk the man away from the scene - instead, the two officers stood imposingly in such a way as to prevent the man from leaving the scene, and questioned him in such a way as to escalate rather than deescalate his belligerence. They likely would have continued to the point of arresting him if I had not stepped in and offered to walk him home. I believe this stems from a widespread police culture of "busting bad guys" and making arrests, rather than truly keeping the peace. Truly keeping the peace requires the ability and willingness to deescalate situations.
I’m glad this Committee was formed. There needs to be more work in the community with Police Department and city council and staff .I feel like everyone’s divided on Race in this country which include Union City. .Reform need to start not only with Police Department but also City hall .We need also educate our young people in our New Haven school district and have more open communication with Board of Education on ways and programs that affect people of color in our city.There so much bullying going on in schools and many kids are targeted not just black children.I was victim of bullying growing up in our schools and as a Adult black male ,I struggle with depression.Union City need to take lead in the Bay Area and show we are different.Union City officials including members of both city council and school district need get along and work together to get this achieved.We have potential let use it for good and let change way of culture here in Union City .
Here is an article that thoroughly explains the essential grievances of those calling for change in policing, and summarizes some potential ways to address these problems. It also includes links to other sources and resources, including academic journal articles and reports on how various cities are addressing their police problems.
We train police to be warriors — and then send them out to be social workers: The fatal mismatch at the heart of American policing
I hope that you can take the time today to read this article. I look forward to attending this evening's meeting of the Policing & Community Engagement Committee.
Share your thoughts I am totally against defunding the police or having the funds from robust policing to social programs... This has been tried in other places with disastrous results. Police in Union City are amazing - they know the community and work well to keep crime down. IF the state of CA had not screwed with law enforcement and said 900 dollars and less no need to report we would have a safer place. I am not sure why people imagine that less police is better ? and most of the AntiFA and BLM people are white and have a nice trust funds and live far away from union city so taking their input for our city is ridiculous and dangerous.. I am all for better training for officers and decoupling money from public sector unions to politicians - there should be a law that says NO public sector unions can donate to politicians. That is the only way bad cops or bad employees - racist cops or racist and useless govt. employees will be rooted out.. now the unions and politicians are in bed together and they do not even bother to investigate any complaints of bad behavior of cops or govt. employees.. this defund the police is pretending that the police are bad when the actual bad actors are unions bosses and elected officials ganging up to protect bad behavior -- I say DEFUND the public sector unions and defund the politicians !! AND FUND the POLICE even more - less police affect all of us but more than anyone the poor and minority community is most affected by less police... ***************************
We **SHOULD NOT** defund the police or "re-allocate" funds. Just because there are a few racist cops, it DOES NOT mean that all or most cops are racist. It is the police who keep the vast majority of people- especially the poor, the minorities- who cannot afford to live in safe gated communities. The police put themselves in harm's way so that people who can't defend themselves are safe. In fact, if anything, we should defund other services of the government that are not absolutely necessary; or, those that can be served by contracting to private companies (who can be fired if they don't do a good job.) In the era of covid, I know of many colleagues who are out of a job. Can we cut administrative salaries, prune waste in other areas and leave the police alone? It is truly the very rich (the "one-percenters") who don't need the police: they can afford private security guards. The rest of us poor saps NEED THE POLICE. If anything, please increase the funding for the police!
The what seems like monthly killings of black citizens by officers has growing outrage nationwide. Each case is a constant reminder that not enough policy changes have been made to hold police accountable. I grew up feeling protected and safe with police, I know that being an asian American makes me less likely to be treated in humanely by law enforcement. I and my fellow non black and non Hispanic citizens need to recognize this difference: that we have the privilege not to worry an altercation with police will end deadly. Please do what you can to end qualified immunity of police, utilize alternative city services for non violent calls, and reallocate funds to those services and away from the police There are better ways to treat our citizens humanely and equally so no one will have to feel their life is threatened by the very people who are to serve and protect us.
It has been very interesting to listen to and absorb community sentiment on this issue both during the committee meetings and carefully reading through all of the written feedback. I'd remind City Council and the Human Relations Commission that there are two inconvenient but irrefutable facts that need to be foundational to this effort: (1) American racism is real. America was founded on racism. Racism is baked into every American institution including policing. Black Lives Matter is not a political statement. It is an assertion of human rights. (2) Systemic police brutality against Black people is real. Black people are 13% of the US population, but of those who die at the hands of police using lethal force, 32% are Black. Lets stop with the thinly veiled eugenics rebuttals. We are not animals or sub-human. We are flesh and blood. We feel pain. Black people are nearly three times more likely to die from a police encounter than whites. In the draft recommendations for "transformation", I don't see enough focused on police culture and accountability. Even if you argue that both are good in Union City, how do we preserve that? How do we keep those things from deteriorating? I'd like to see more transparency and visibility into how candidate UCPD officers are evaluated and assessed as the right fit for the city. Who are the people we are hiring, who is making the decision, and how? How do we monitor this over time and take corrective action when necessary? Past efforts to gather community involvement in officer promotions have been more ceremony than substance and clearly designed as a "check the box" activity. Culture comes from the top of any organization. How do we hold UCPD leadership, City Leadership and City Council accountable for police culture? What processes and metrics can we define to do so? We can vote out a mayor or city council member, but how do we as citizens demand accountability of the city manager or police chief short of showing up to public comments and yelling for 2 minutes before a gavel comes down and we are dismissed to make way for the next agenda item on street paving? Why do we have to take roundabout pathways to accountability like pressuring people and groups who fund and endorse political campaigns? I like the suggestions to make police data more available. How about an accountability dashboard that is made public and includes demographically broken down data on police stops, arrests, use of force, shootings, and deaths? When I asked the last police chief for some basic data on gun violence in the city he told me he didn't have it. That's completely unacceptable. Let's do better.
8-27-2020 Meeting of the Policing and Community Engagement Committee
August 13th Meeting - Policing & Community Engagement Committee
August 6th Meeting - Policing & Community Engagement Committee
July 30 Meeting - Policing & Community Engagement Committee
July 23 Meeting - Policing & Community Engagement Committee
July 16 Meeting - Policing & Community Engagement Committee
July 9 Meeting - Policing & Community Engagement Committee
Policing & Community Engagement Committee Meeting
July 9 Meeting - Policing & Community Engagement Committee
Policing & Community Engagement Committee Meeting