Many states are “reimagining” public safety protocols by looking into plans that would replace police officers with public employees who would respond to crisis calls and other unrelated law enforcement situations.
According to Fox News, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf voiced her approval of the suggested proposal during a call with three other mayors and California Democratic Representative Karen Bass.
“We are excited, as many cities are, to reimagine public safety,” Schaaf stated. “And that means not just to reform the police, but to replace the police with more trauma-informed and care-based, community-led responses that really don’t warrant a badge and a gun.”
Spanning over the past several weeks, protesters have demanded local governments “defund the police” due to the deaths of #BreonnaTaylor and #GeorgeFloyd, two African Americans killed by police.
The details of the reforms are still unclear, as Bass, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, and other leaders have pushed back on radical proposals. But it may be possible for city officials to adopt the reform approach used by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who was also in attendance on Tuesday’s call. Amid protests, Garcetti announced budget cuts to Los Angeles police department and will instead apply those funds in community-based programs around the city.
“We have a full Department of Violence Prevention led by a social worker but who carries the exact same title — chief — of equal stature to our police chief …” Schaaf said. “And these are community-based medics and clinicians that respond to mental health and other appropriate, non-law-enforcement-type needs,” she added. “To have a different kind of response to send out to these 911 calls is something that I believe we all are going to migrate to, and even faster because of the current demand from our communities.”
The East Bay Times reports that Oakland has taken a step towards preventing violence by hiring former social worker Guillermo Cespedes to lead the city’s Department of Violence Prevention with an annual salary of $213, 418.92.