PAB: Early Intervention & Body Worn Camera Policies

PAB Meeting 2-29Among the topics discussed at the Berkeley Police Accountability Board (PAB) meeting Wednesday February 28, 2024 was the directive by the Berkeley City Council to revise the Early Intervention System (EIS) policy of the Berkeley Police Department (BPD). The Early Intervention System, under policy 1041, requires the implementation of a flagging based system where identification of employee conduct that is deemed problematic is addressed and corrected before the behavior rises to the level of misconduct.

Board Member Alexander Mozes said that the EIS that exists now does not meet up to the guidelines of the revised system the BPD was directed by the City Council to implement over three years ago in 2021. As such, a timeline, which is being coordinated with Chief Louis, must be set for the BPD to implement the changes, said Mozes. He added that according to the chief, the department is set to interview three potential consultants. The Council allocated $100,000 towards securing consultation to help implement the EIS. Mozes continued by stating that the Board must continue to revise policy 1041 to reflect the City Council’s decision and what is to be implemented.

One such revision includes transitioning from a randomized auditing EIS to a truly data driven and flagging based EIS. Currently, policy 1041 has the BPD select five random officers to be audited every quarter, which the Council and Board has deemed to be ineffective and needs to be changed. In a letter to the PAB from a supplemental packet from February 7th’s board meeting, Board Member Joshua Cayetano stated, “the concept of random auditing is fundamentally at odds with the purpose of an EIS, which is to identify problematic trends and intervene where necessary to prevent future adverse actions.” In the same letter, Cayetano noted that Chief Louis agrees with the need for transition and that it is already underway, but that the PAB “must play an essential role in that transition.”

Another one of the revisions in the City Council’s directive requires the Police Accountability Board to collaborate with the BPD with the implementation of the EIS. One specific area of collaboration is nominating a board member to serve as an EIS observer or liaison. The Board nominated board member Cayetano as their liaison for the EIS system.

Another topic discussed was the BPD’s worn body camera policy. Currently, complainants, board members and staff etc. do not have the ability to access police body camera footage. Board Members Regina Harris and Julie Leftwich in their subcommittee have been communicating with the BPD for over a year to revise the body worn camera policy. According to Leftwich, Lieutenant Cummings said that complainants should not have access to body camera footage, but has not yet provided reasoning as to why. However, the department said that they would make internal policy changes themselves, but Leftwich noted that has also yet to happen. Harris added that there is nothing in place to audit body cameras whatsoever, and that transparency is necessary and important for both the department and community. Furthermore, Harris and other board members agreed that complainant access to body camera footage would be helpful for officers as well, as the footage could potentially exonerate them of any wrongdoing that they may be accused of. The officer who attended the meeting responded by saying that there were many factors that prolonged the revision of the body worn camera policy including the fact that the department is always very busy and that the revision has to be discussed with the Police Union.

Lastly, board member Harris announced her resignation from the board due to the large workload of the brick and mortar that she opened and taking care of her family. She said she wants to open her position on the board to someone who will have the time to dedicate to the PAB.

–Xavier Nguyen


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