THE NEWLY APPOINTED REIMAGINING PUBLIC SAFETY TASK FORCE HOLDS ITS “KICKOFF MEETING”

As we observed in our last blog post, the Task Force members have been appointed.  The members, and their appointments, are as follows:

Anne Marks (District 1 CM Kalb), David Kakishiba (District 2 CM Bas), Antoine Towers (District 3 CM Gibson McElhaney), Brooklyn Williams (District 4 CM Thao), Mariano Contreras (District 5 CM Gallo), Keisha Henderson (District 6 CM Taylor), Reygan Cunningham (District 7 CM Reid), James Burch (At- Large CM Kaplan), Pat Kernighan (Mayor Schaaf), Carol Wyatt (Community Policing Advisory Board), Nikki Dinh (Safety Services Oversight Committee), Ginale Harris (Police Commission), Ivan Garcia (Oakland Youth Advisory Commission), Losaline Moa (Oakland Youth Advisory Commission), Brenda Roberts (Budget Advisory Commission), Gus Newport (Co-Chairs’ Appointee), John Jones III (Co-Chairs’ Appointee).

The “Kickoff Meeting” occurred on the evening of September 16. At that meeting the two sponsoring council people (Loren Taylor and Nikki Fortunato-Bas), the City Administrator Ed Reiskin, the facilitators (David Muhammad, of the National Institute for Criminal Justice Reform and Anand Subramanian, Managing Director of Policy Link) and all the Taskforce members spoke of the great importance and historical significance of this opportunity to change the way that public safety is approached in Oakland.  Many expressed the personal importance to them as they are raising families in Oakland.  It was stressed that now is the time for change, we can do this and be a model for others in the country.

It was announced that the meetings will be every other Wednesday at 6PM. Details on this meeting, the presentations from the meeting and the meeting schedule can be found here: https://www.oaklandca.gov/meetings/reimagining-public-safety-taskforce-special-meeting.

Given that the Taskforce has to do its work in time to make recommendations for the June budget, the facilitators recommended that the discussion be tightly focused on the following five questions:

  1. What activities/functions should OPD do less of or no longer do? What should OPD specifically continue to do/where are officers’ time best spent?
  2. What community based services or other government agency programs should be implemented specifically to replace or be an alternative to the reduced or eliminated police services?
  3. What other community services and assets do we want or need that do not necessarily replace a police function, but helps create neighborhood safety, peace, and healing?
  4. What improvements/reforms are needed from OPD?  
  5. What do we want from the County, especially: Behavioral Health Care Services, Public Health Department, Social Services Agency (which includes Child Welfare) Probation, and Sheriff?

During the allocated public comment time MOBN! board member Michael Ubell stated that what also needs to be addressed is how the transition should take place between what is now in place and the newly design system. Facilitator Muhammad said that was an important question that will need to be included.

Policy Link also outlined their community outreach component.  This includes:

  • Partnering with base-building organizations/coalitions
  • Conducting three online town halls
  • Creating an online survey which will be open for 6-8 weeks
  • Promoting to most-impacted residents through traditional/social media, flyers, etc.
  • Ensuring comprehensive youth engagement
  • Receiving public comments at Task Force/City Council meetings

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